The Baldwin Library
FRED, AND A'ARIA, AND JE.
- _- --- -
ARIA, AND IED
'y the Author of The Flower of the Family."
ILLUSTRATED BY W. MAGRATH.
CHARLES SCR1BNER & COMPANY.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S67, by
CHARLES SCRIBNER & CO.,
In the Clerk's Ofice of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New York.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
VIGNETTE........... ............... .......... ........... ........ Tile-Page.
DEACON MORSE AND AUNT AVEY. ........... .........Faces Page 6
AUNT AVERY AT FRED'S TABLE.................. ....... 30
DEATH OF LITTLE GUSTAVUS .............................. 6'
AUNT AVERY AT HER OLD HOME ....................... L" 68
THE story of Fred, and Maria, and Me originally
appeared in the first two numbers of HouRs AT HOME. Its
quaintness, simplicity, and truthfulness to nature secured it
such wide popularity as to create a demand for it in separate
form, and, with the consent of the Author, it is now re
FRED, AND MARIA, AND. ME
PART THE FIRST.
I DON'T suppose you ever was down to
Goshen, in the State of Maine. But if you
was, you had the old Avery place p'inted out
to you, and heard a kind word spoke about
them as had lived there. My father was well-
to-do, and so was his father before him. And
so when one by one our family dropped away,
I was left in the old place, rich and lonesome.
At least it looked as if I was lonesome; and
everybody was glad when I took a little
friendless nephew of mine to be the same as
my own child. I hadn't no great use for
money, and there's no sense in pretending I
knew how to take care of it. / Some has a
4 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
faculty that way and some hasn't. And so it
happened that after, Fred grew up and went
to New York to live, he got into the way of
taking a thousand dollars here and a thousand
there, partly to. take care of for me, and partly
to use in the way of his business.
I didn't keep much account of what he had;
and it came upon me all of a sudden one day
that I was finding it hard to get enough to
pay my subscriptions with. For I always
subscribed to the Home Missionary Society
and all' them, and paid up regular; and I
wasn't never the one to be mean about sup-
porting the gospel, either. I paid my pew
rent right up to the day, and our minister
knows how often I had him and his wife and
all the children to tea, and how there wasn't
never any stint, and the best cups and saucers
got out, and them children eating until they
couldn't hold no more, and a filling their
pockets full of doughnuts, and I making be-
lieve not see 'em do it.
Well! I never shall forget the day Deacon
Fred, and Maria, and Me.
Morse come round to get the pew-rent, and I
had to say out and out, "Deacon Morse, I'd
give you the money if I had it, but the faa is,
I ain't had a dollar these three months."
"You don't say so," says he, and he was so
struck up that he turned quite yaller.
Yes, I do say so," says I. "Fred has been
plagued a good deal about his business, and
I've had to help him along; and then you
know I ain't no hand at taking care of money,
and so he's been keeping it for me. And
he says I give away too much, and he shall
look out that a check is kept upon me. I
expect that he don't consider that at my time
of life folks can't change their naturs. And,
it's my natur to keep my money a stirring.
You can't eat it, and you can't drink it, and
why shouldn't you make your fellow-creatures
happy ivith it'?"
"But Fred pays the interest regular, don't
he ?" says the Deacon.
Well, I can't say as he does pay it regular;,"
says I. "He sends me twenty dollars one
6 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
time, and ten another time; and once or twice
he's wrote that he was hard up for cash, and
he knew I'd not press him against the wall.
And lately he ain't wrote at all."
"Pretty business, to be sure !" says the
Deacon.. I never thought you knew much,
Aunt Avery" (you see I'm everybody's aunt;
it's a way folks has), but I did think you had
a little mite o' common sense, if you hadn't no
book learning. "
"I don't suppose I do know much," says I,
"and I never was left to think I did. And as
for sense, I know I ain't got much of that,
either. The Lord don't give every thing to
once. Folks can't exped if they're handsome
to have sense besides. It wouldn't be fair.
And them that has money can't expect to have
the gift of taking care of it and hoarding it.
No, no, the Lord divides out things even, and
his ways are better than our ways."
I'll tell you what," says the Deacon, you
ought to see a little more of the world.
You're a nice little body, and when it comes
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 7
to standing' up for the Lord, and going round
among the poor and the sick, I don't know
your match, anywhere. But you're ignorant
of the world, Aunt Avery, very ignorant.
And as for that nephew of your'n, I guess
you'll find his gift is the gift of landing you in
the almshouse, one o' these days."
Deacon Morse," says I, I've heerd you
speak in meeting' a good many times, but I
never see you so much riled up as you are
now. And if it's on my account you're so
wrathy, you needn't be wrathy no more, for
I've got riches no man can take from me."
"And what if I turn you out o' that pew o'
your'n where you've sot ever since you was
born, and where your father and your grand-
father sot afore you ?"
"I don't know-maybe it would come hard.
But there's free seats up in the gallery, and if
I don't pay my rent, I'm sure I ought not to
set in my pew."
Well, well, I never thought Fred Avery
would turn out as he has," says the Deacon.
8 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
S"As smiling, good-natured a boy as ever was!
I'll step over and have a word with Sam, if
you've no objection. He may think of some
way out of this bother. And as for you, Aunt
Avery, don't you worry. The Lord will take
care of you."
Well, pretty soon Sam Avery came in, look-
ing half as tall again as common, and I'm sure
I wouldn't for the world write down all the
dreadful things he was left to say about Fred.
"I'll go now and consult Lawyer Rogers,"
says he, at last.
"But wouldn't that hurt Fred's feelings ?"
says I. And I don't want to hurt his feelings,
I'm sure I don't.
"Besides, there ain't no lawyer in the world
can get your money back when there ain't no
papers to tell where it went to."
"It's the most shameful thing I ever heard !"
said Sam. "And you take it as cool as a
cucumber. Why, Aunt Avery, do you realize
that you won't never have a red cent to give
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 9
"Well, I hope it ain't so bad as that," says I.
And I took off my spectacles and wiped 'em,
for somehow I couldn't seem to see as plain as
Now the next day was Sunday, and I will
own Satan is dreadful busy Sundays. And he
kept hovering around me as I was washing up
the dishes after breakfast, and says he, How'll
you feel a sitting' up in the gallery this after-
noon ?" Says he,." everybody'll be looking' up
and wondering and there'll be no end to wan-
derin' thoughts in prayer. You don't feel
very well, Aunt Avery, and if I was you, I
wouldn't go to meeting to-day. Next Sunday
may be it won't be so hard to go and sit in the
You needn't call me Aunt Avery," says
I, "for I ain't your aunt, and you know
it. And I'm goin' to meeting, and I'm
goin' all day, and so you may go about
your business," says I. So I dressed myself
up in my go-to-meetin' things, and I went
to meeting but I didn't sit in the Avery
10 Fred, and Marza, and Me.
pew, 'cause I hadn't paid my pew-tax, and
hadn't no business to. I went up into the
gallery and set down in the free seats near the
singers. There was old Ma'am Hardy and
old Mr. Jones, and one other man and me;
that was all; and the old Avery pew it was
empty all day. If the people stared and had
wanderin' thoughts I couldn't help it, but I
don't believe they did have no wanderin'
thoughts. And coming' out of meeting a good
many shook; hands with me just the same as
ever, and our minister he smiled and shook
hands, and his little Rebecca, her that used to
like my doughnuts so, she kind o' cuddled up
to me, and says she, "Aunt Avery, put down
your head so I can whisper to you." And I
put down my head so she could reach up to
my ear, and says she, You won't be poor
any more, for here's some money of my own
that I'm agoin' to give to you, and don't you
tell anybody you've got it, 'cause they'll bor-
row it if you do, and never pay it back."
And then the little thing squeezed two cents
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 11
into my hand, and kissed me, and looked as
contented as an angel. And I always was a fool
about such things, and what did I do but burst
right out a-crying there before all the people !
But I don't think none of'em see me, for they
all passed on, and so I got out and got home,
and I laid them two cents down on the table,
and I knelt down, and says I, Oh Lord, look
at them two cents !" I couldn't say no more,
but He knew what I meant, just as well as if
I'd prayed an hour, and I could almost see Him
a-laying of His hands on that child's head and
blessing of her jest as He did to those little ones
ever so many years ago. So I ate my dinner,
and read a chapter, and went to meeting' in the
afternoon, and our minister preached such a
sermon that I forgot I was up in the gallery,
and everybody forgot it, and there wa'n't no
wanderin' thoughts in that meeting' house, I'll
venture to say. Well, after tea I sat in my
chair feeling kind o' beat out, and in walks
Deacon Morse. "Aunt Avery, do you keep
Saturday night ?" says he.
12 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
"Yes, deacon, I do," says I.
So do we to home," says he, and it's all
the same as Monday morning' after sunset," says.
he, "so there ain't no harm a talking of
worldly things. And I want to know what
you went and left your pew for, and took and
set up in the gallery a fillin' everybody's mind
with all sorts of thoughts, and a making' 'em
break the Sabbath day a talking' of it all the
time between meeting's ?"
Why, I hadn't no right to no other seat,"
says I, "and I didn't mean to do no harm,"
"If you weren't so good you'd put me all out
o' patience," says he. The pew's your'n, and
there ain't no hurry about them taxes, and if
there was, why we could sell the pew and get
our money's worth. And don't you go to
being stuck up 'cause you've lost your money,
and making believe humble; the Lord don't
like them sort o' things. I don't mean to hurt
your feeling's, Aunt Avery," says he-" my
ways is rough, but my heart ain't. And what
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 13
I mean is, don't you go to setting' up there in
the gallery, but you sit in the old Avery pew
and let's have it look natural down stairs, so
we can listen to the sermon and not be starin'
round, thinking' to ourselves, If there ain't an
Avery up in the gallery!"
Deacon Morse," says I, "you don't mean
no harm, I'm sure, and I don't mean no harm.
And I'm sorry I ever told you where my
money'd gone. It's turned your natur', and
made you kind o' sharp and cutting, says I.
" And, it's turned you and everybody against
Fred Avery, and he ain't to blame for being
poor. I'm sure he feels bad enough that
he's taken away my living, and we ought to
be a-pitying of him instead of upbraiding
So Deacon Morse he wiped his eyes, and
says he, "It did rile me to see the old pew
empty, Aunt Avery, but good-by; next Sun-
day we'll have things our own way."
After he'd gone I set and thought and
thought, and at last I got some paper and a
14 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
pen and ink and I wrote a letter to Fred, and
told him not to feel bad about it but I was
pretty well used up for want o' money, and if
he could let me have a little I'd take it kindly
of him, and if he couldn't he needn't mind,
I'd sell the old place and manage somehow.
Satan hung round while I was a writing and
says he, "Miss Avery, you'll be as forlorn
as old Ma'am Hardy if you sell out. You'll
have to go out to board, and won't never
have nothing' to give away, and never have
the minister to tea. An'd you was born in
this house, and so was your father and your
I'm glad you've learnt manners and stopped
calling me Aunt Avery," says I. "And if
you're hinting about going to law and such
things, you may as well go first as last. For
I'll sell this house and give it to Fred, sooner
than do anything to please you."
With that he sneaked off, and I finished
my letter. In a few days who should come
driving down from New York but Fred
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 15
Avery. He said he was dreadful sorry about
that money, but 'twas all gone, and times
harder than ever, but he certainly would pay
every cent sooner or later, if he had to sell
his house and furniture, and turn his wife and
children into the street.
I can't sleep nights for thinking of it,"
says he, "and my wife can't sleep either, and
my little children they keep asking, 'Papa,
hadn't we better stop going to school, and go
and work for our livin', so as to pay Aunt
Avery all that money'? "
"La! do they now?" says I, "the little
dears! You tell 'em Aunt Avery won't
touch a cent of it, and to comfort their ma
all they can, and tell her never to mind any
thing the old woman writes again, for she
won't have folks kept awake worryin' about
So Fred he promised to make all right, and
pay me up besides, and he gave me money
enough to pay my pew-rent and to get along
with a few months. La! I didn't need
16 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
much! and so all began to go on jest as it
did before, and Deacon Morse and Sam Avery
left off worrying me about things. But I was
turning 'em over in my mind unbeknown to
them, and one day when there was only a
dollar left, I put on my bonnet and went over
to 'Squire Jackson's, and says I, "'Squire Jack-
son, if you still want to buy the old place, I've
concluded to let you have it. I'm getting' old,
and I don't want my affefions sot too strong
on things below, and somehow my heart feels
kind of sore and as if it wouldn't mind parting
even with the old place." The fat is, though
I didn't know it, I'd got sort o' weaned from this
world by Satan's botherin' me and saying,
" 'Tain't right for Fred Avery to cheat you so!
He ain't a man to be depended on!" For if
there was anybody I ever did love 'twas that
boy, and I never looked to see him grow up
selfish or mean; and his last letter sounded
kind o' sharp and out o' patience, as if I was
the one that owed the money and not him.
'Squire Jackson didn't wait to be asked twice.
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 17
He jumped right up and went for Lawyer
Rogers, and had the papers drawn up, and I
signed my name. And the old Avery place
wasn't the old Avery place any more. 'Squire
Jackson cut down those trees my grandfather
was so proud of, and had the house turned
upside down, and inside out. I went to board
at the widow Dean's, and she gave me her best
bedroom, and I tried to make it out I was to
home. But wasn'tt home after all, and I
couldn't have the minister to tea, nor fry
doughnuts for them dear children, and the
widow Dean's ways wasn't like my ways, and
things seemed kind of strange, and I began to
feel as if it wasn't me but somebody else, and
my head got to spinning 'round in a way it
never did afore. I thought it was the tea, and
that the widow Dean didn't make it right, but
I didn't like to hurt her feelings by saying that,
and at last I said to myself, "The fact is, Aunt
Avery, you're an old maid and full of notions,
and you've no business sitting here boardin' as
if you was a lady; you ought to be doing
18 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
something as you was brought up to." But
when I happened to speak to the doctor about
them queer feelings in my head, he said,
" Aunt Avery, a journey would do you more
good than all the doctors in the county.
You've had a great deal to try you, and
you've changed your manner of life entirely.
It don't agree with you to sit here doing noth-
ing, and you must get up and go off some-
"But whereabouts?" says I. I never was
twenty miles from home in my life, and I'm
sure I don't know where to go."
That very day I got a letter from Fred say-
ing he had been sick with a fever, owing to his
anxiety about his business, and especially at
the step he had driven me to take by his own
want of money. "If I had a few thousand
dollars I could take advantage of the state of
the market," said he, "and make a speculation
that would set me on my feet again, and you
with me, Aunt Avery. Then you could buy
the dear old place back, and live just as you
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 19
used to live. But alas! this paltry sum is
Money wouldn't set them old trees a-grow-
ing again," says I to myself, "nor make our
old house ever look old again, at least not in
my time. But if it could put Fred on his
feet again, why it's a pity he shouldn't have it.
And I've had hard thoughts I ought not to
have had, and called him mean and selfish,
and that isn't the way the Bible tells us to
feel. If I thought I could get to being as
quiet and happy as I used to be in the old
times, I'd give him every cent I'have left, and
welcome. But then where should I live, and
who'd take and clothe and feed me for nothing?
It takes all the widow Dean's grace and nature,
too, to stand having me to board, even when I
pay her every Saturday night, and I s'pose
people wasn't made to live together; if they
was, everybody'd like their tea lukewarm,
and not have two opinions on that p'int nor
Just then Sam Avery he came sauntering in,
20 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
and says he, "Aunt Avery, the door says if
you don't go off on a journey your head'll
split in two, and I'll tell you what, I've got a
first-rate plan in my head that'll set every thing
straight in no time. You set here all day a
worrying about Fred and a pitying him 'cause
he can't pay his debts; now if you could put
him in the way of paying what he owes you,
wouldn't it take a load off your mind ?"
Goodness, Sam," says I, "of course it
would. But there ain't no way unless it is to
let him have what I got for the farm. And
I've a good mind to do that."
If you do, I'll have you put in the asylum,"
says Sam. "You don't know nothing about
the world, and I do, and I want you to promise
me that you won't let Fred have that money
without consulting me. Do you think your
good old father worked and toiled and got his
face sun-burnt and his hands as hard as two
horns, just for Fred Avery ? What do you
suppose he'd say if he could rise from his grave
and see strangers rampaging over the old place,
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 21
and them trees cut down, and them red and
yaller carpets all over the floors your mother
used to keep so clean and shining'? Why
he'd sneak back where he rose from in less
than no time."
I got so bewildered hearing him talk, that I
didn't know what I was about, and I began to
think there's two ways of looking' at things,
and may be I hadn't reflected whether or not
my father would have liked what I had done.
But I knew I'd tried to do as I'd ought, and so
I says to Sam:
"Don't talk so, Sam. It makes me sort of
shudder to think of my father that's gone to
heaven, caring any thing about the old place
now, and what color 'Squire Jackson's carpets
are, and such things. And if you've got any
plan for Fred's good in your head, I wish you'd
tell it, for I'm afraid I haven't shown a Chris-
tian spirit about him."
Well," says Sam, you've got to go a jour-
ney and so have I, for I'm going to New York
on business. And you can go along with me
22 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
and see Fred, and tell him you'll take part of
his debt in board. That will relieve his mind
and his wife's mind, and be as Christian an ad
as need be. And then, if after trying 'em you
don't like their ways, and don't feel to home,
you come right back here, and me and my wife
will make things agreeable for you. Amanda
is a little woman anybody could live with, and
if anybody could you could. If you like your
I do," says I, bilin' hot."
"Well, if you like it hot, she does. But
then if you change your mind and like it kind
of insipid and lukewarm, she'll change her's,
and like it insipid. Amanda and I never had
no words together, and she's a nice little woman,
that's a fad."
Sam," says I, "you've hit the right nail on
the head this time. I'll do what is no more'n
Christian, and go to Fred's. Poor man, how
glad he'll be, and how glad his wife'll be, and
their little children too. I wonder I never
thought of it before!"
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 23
So the next week we set .off, Sam and I,
and all the way I kept taking back the
thoughts I'd had about him, for it was plain
now he had Fred's good at heart; and all along,
I had fancied there wasn't much love lost
between 'em. "How pleased they'll be, I
declare," says I to myself. "I can take hold
and help Fred's wife about the work, and them
children; and there's my old black silk, I can
make that over for one of 'em, if they are any
of 'em big enough to wear silk, and then
there's my de laine!" I hadn't felt so happy
since the day I set in the gallery, but just then
we drove up to a very high brown house, and
Sam cried out:
"Wake up, Aunt Avery, here we are !"
"Why, we ain't going to a tavern, are we ?"
says I. "I thought we was going right to
"Well, this is Fred's; jump out, Aunt
Avery, for they're opening the door."
"What! this great palace!" says I, all
24 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
all struck up. Oh, Sam! it must be they've
Sam kind o' laughed, and says he, Then
it'll come all the handier having you," says he.
We went up the steps, and pretty soon they
let us in, and Sam pulled me along into a great,
long, splendid room, and set me down on a
sofy. At first I couldn't see much of any thing,
for there was thick curtains over the winders,
and the blinds shut to, but after a minute I
began to make out the things, and there was a
sight of 'em to be sure, chairs and tables and
sofys and I don't know what not, all in a muss
instead of setting regular and tidy up against
"Things is in dreadful confusion, ain't
they?" says I, "but I suppose Fred's wife is a get-
ting supper, and ain't had time to clear up yet."
By this time a lady come into the room, and
stood a staring first at me and then at Sam, as if
we was wild Indians or Hbttentots, and says she:
You've probably mistaken the house," says
she. Sam got up, and says he, "Isn't Fred at
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 25
home?" Upon that she stared worse than ever,
and turned quite red, but Sam up and told her
who he was and who I was, and that he was a
going down to find Fred, and would leave me
in her care.
But I'm surprised he ain't to home, for I
made an appointment with him for just this
time o' day," says he, "and it's rather awkward
not to find him, I'm free to say."
Just then in walks Fred, a looking as black
as thunder, and he takes no notice of me but
just goes up to Sam, as if he was going to
catch him by the throat, and says he,
"Well, sir !"
Well, sir !" says Sam.
And they stood a looking at each other just
like two roosters that's a going to fight.
But after a minute Fred turned round, shook
hands with me, and says, This is my Aunt
Avery, Maria," and the lady that had been a
standing there all this time, she stared harder
than ever, and says she, Indeed ?"
Thinks I, she feels bad at having me see her
26 Fred, -and Maria, and Me.
parlor in such a clutter, and so I made believe
not look at any thing, but for the life of me I
couldn't help seeing them chairs all askew, and
so.I- got up and laid my bonnet on the table,
and while I was a doing of it I just set a
couple of 'em straight and even, by the
window. The minute she see me she run and
pulled 'em out and set 'em all askew again.
Fred he kept edging off while we was a
moving of the chairs, and at last he got Sam
into the back parlor, for he didn't seem to want
nobody to hear what they was talking about.
Fred's wife didn't say nothing, so says I:
"Do you keep boarders, ma'am ?"
"Keep boarders! gracious !" says she.
I ask your pardon if I've said any thing out
of the way," says I. It looks like such a big
house, and as if it had such a sight of room in it."
Did I understand Mr. Avery to say you
were his aunt ?" says she, after a while.
"Yes, ma'am, I'm his aunt, by the father's
side," says I.
"Most extraordinary !" says she.
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 27
"No, dear, not extraordinary," says I. "It's
as natural as can be. Jeremiah Avery and
Abraham Avery they married sisters. And
Jerry's sister she married a cousin. And Fred's
"Good-by, Aunt Avery, I'm a going now,"
says Sam, coming in, remember what I've
told you about Amanda; good-by, Miss
Avery, good-by, Fred;" and so off he went.
And I began to feel lonesome as soon as he
went. And I realized that I was beat out,
what with the journey and all. So I said I
should be glad to go up stairs if it wouldn't be
too much trouble to show me the way.
Oh, no, not at all," says Fred, and he had
my trunk carried up, and sent for a nice, tidy
young woman to show mne to my room.
Well, we went up so many pairs of stairs
that I was all out of breath when I got to my
Room, and had to set down in the first chair I
see. It was one o' them short days in the fall,
and though it wasn't more than four o'clock, it
was beginning to grow dark. So the young
28 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
woman let down the curtains and lighted a
light, and I could see what a beautiful room it
was, with such a great wide bed, and a white
quilt, all sweet and tidy, and the brown and
blue carpet, and the brown and blue curtains,
"Dear me!" says I, "this room is too nice
for an old body like me. Isn't there some lit-
tle corner you could tuck me into?"
Oh, this isn't the best room by no means,"
says she. "Not but it's a decent bed-room
enough, though. Shall I help you dress for
dinner, ma'am ?"
Why, ain't they had dinner yet ?" says I.
"I hope they ain't waited all this time for
"Oh, dinner isn't till six," says she.
I stared at her and she stared at me, and
then says she:
I guess you ain't been much in New
York ?" says she.
No, I never was out of Goshen before, till
now," says I, "and Goshen's ways ain't like
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 29
New York ways, at least I expe& they ain't.
But what is it you was a saying about dressing
for dinner Are they going to have com-
"No; only I thought you'd want to fix up
a little," says she.
"I guess it ain't worth while if they ain't
going to have nobody," says I. "And I'll
jist lay down a little while and get rested, if
you'll call me when dinner's ready." So she
went down, and I tried to get a nap, but some-
how I couldn't, I was so faint, and beat with
the journey, and the need of something to eat,
if wasn'tt more than a cracker. And when
they come and called me to dinner, I was
thankful to go down, though 'twas so odd a
eating dinner after dark.
We all set down to the table, Fred, and his
wife, and me, and there wasn't nothing on it
I suppose they economize in their visuals,"
thinks I, "to pay for living in such a big,
handsome house. But I must say I never ate
30 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
such good soup, and it must have taken more'n
one beef-bone to make it, I'm sure."
Cousin Avery," says I to Fred's wife, you
make your soup beautiful. And you all
dressed up like a lady, too. I can't think how
you do it. Now when I'm round to work a
getting dinner, I can't keep nice and tidy.
Not that I ever have such handsome clothes as
your'n," says I, for I see her a clouding up and
didn't know what I'd said to vex her. There
was a man a clearing off the table, and I see
him a laughing, and thinks I, what's he
laughing at ? At me ? But I ain't done
nothing to laugh at, and most likely it's his
own thoughts are pleasing him. But just
then he in with a great piece of roast beef
and a couple of boiled chickens, and ever
so many kinds of vegetables, enough for
Why, Fred," says I, them chickens look
as plump and fat as if they'd been raised in
the country. I had an idee New York chick-
ens was only half.growed. But I suppose
'II I 'I
:Fr *;:I yii;
K I: ''' '';^ .
II '~ ''
--<~--r-- ~ -==-;---~_- Al~~.
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 31
being brought up on a farm you know how to
raise them more'n common, don't you ?"
Fred smiled a little, but didn't say nothing,
and it got to be kind o' silent, and I kept
thinking what a number of things was brought
on to the table and so much trouble just for me,
so says I:
"Don't put yourself out for me, Cousin
Avery," says I. If you make a stranger of
me, I shall wish I hadn't come. There'll be a
plenty of that cold meat for to-morrow, and
I'm partial to cold meat."
By this time we'd about got through dinner,
and the man had gone away, so Mrs. Avery
she spoke up quite angry like, and says she :
The idea of my being my own cook and
making the soup! Ha! ha! Even John
couldn't help laughing!"
Why, do you keep a girl?" says I, quite
bewildered. And was that the girl that
showed me the way-up stairs ?"
What does she mean ?" says she, looking
32 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
My dear, I am surprised at you !" says
Fred. Of course every thing strikes a person
from the country as more or less singular
But here come the children!"
The door opened and in came three chil
dren, two girls and one boy, and every one of
'em dressed up in white, with curls a flying
and ribbons a flying, and looking as if they'd
just come out of a bandbox. There wasn't
one of 'em more'n seven years old, and it come
across me it was kind o' queer for 'em to talk
of going out to get their living, as their pa had
said they did, but thinks I they're smart little
things and not like the common kind. The
youngest one wasn't much more than a baby,
but he set up in a chair, and his pa and ma
they gave him a good many unwholesome
things, and all the others helped themselves to
whatever they could lay their hands on. They
wouldn't speak to me, but all they seemed to
care for was the good things and the nuts
and raisins Fred kept a feeding of 'em
with. But then all'children's fond of eating,
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 33
and never would stop if they were left to their
I wasn't sorry to hear the clock strike nine,
and to go up to bed. But when I knelt down
and tried to pray, it didn't seem as it did to
home; there was such a noise in the street of
wheels going by, that I couldn't called my
thoughts at all, but I seemed to rush and drive
and tear along with them omnibuses till my
poor old heart got to beating like a mill-clapper.
And Satan he hung round and kept saying,
" Well, what do you think of all this ? Your
Spoor nephew Fred' seems very poor, don't he,
and this is a miserable little mean house, ain't
it ? and don't his poor wife have to work hard ?
Where's that old black silk of your'n, that you
was a going to make over for the children ?
Hadn't you better stop a saying of your pray-
ers and begin to rip it ?" So I got all wore
out, and undressed me, and blowed out the
light and got into bed. It looked like a nice
bed afore I got in, but as soon as I laid my
head on the pillow, I says to myself, "Faugh !
34 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
what feathers! I never slept on such feathers,
and 'tain't wholesome."
So I rose up on end, and tossed 'em off on
to the floor, but it didn't make no difference,
and the air seemed full of brimstone and sul-
phur and all sorts of things, such as you exped
to smell when Satan is a prowling round. I
felt as if I should choke, and then as if I
should smother, and turn which way I would
I couldn't get to sleep. My head felt worse
than it did before I left home, and I began to
wish I'd staid there, and not come to this new
fangled place where every thing seems so
strange. At last I got up and dressed me in
the dark, and went out into the entry to see if
I could get a breath of fresh air, and who
should be coming up but cousin Fred's wife.
Why, ain't you to bed yet ?" says I.
"No," says she, I ain't, but where does
this horrid smell of gas come from What
have you been about ?" says she.
I ain't been about nothing, says I, "only
I couldn't get to sleep, and I didn't know
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 35
what was the matter after I blowed out the
"Blowed out the light! Goodness It's
lucky I've got a nose, or you'd have been dead
before morning, for aught I know," and she ran
into my room and set such a light a blazing
that I was half dazzled.
"Don't never blow out the gas again." said
she, "but turn it off, so," says she, and she put
out the light and went away, and there I stood
in the dark, and didn't know where the bed
was, and went feeling round and round, and
kept getting hold of all sorts of things, till at
last I found it, and was thankful to undress and
creep in, and hide myself under the clothes.
I got up early next morning and took my
things out of my trunk, and fixed them nicely
in the drawers, and then I set out to go down
stairs, but there was a door standing open,
and I saw the children were inside, so I went
in, and says I, "Good morning, children," and
then I said good morning to a nice-looking
woman who was dressing one of 'em.
36 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
"Can't I help dress 'em ?" says I, for I saw
she had her hands full, and up in the corner
was a handsome cradle, a rocking away all of
"Thank you, ma'am, there is no need," says
she, I've wound up the cradle, and the baby'll
go to sleep pretty soon, and so I shall have
time to dress the rest if they'll only behave."
"Wound up the cradle ?" says I, quite
astonished to see it rocking away with no living
soul near it.
"Yes, it's a self-rocking cradle," says she;
"we've all the modern improvements in this
house. The children's ma ain't very fond of
trouble, and so she's got every thing handy,
dumb-waiters, sewing-machines, and all sorts of
contrivances. If you'd like to go down on
the dumb-waiter, I'll show you where 'tis," says
The dumb what?" says I.
"The dumb-waiter," says she. "They're
very handy about getting the coal up and
down and sometimes 'folks uses them them-
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 37
selves, if they're tired, or is old ladies that gets
out of breath."
"What, to ride up and down the stairs ?"
Why, yes, to save climbing so many flights
of stairs," says she.
Well, I'd seen so many strange things in
this house, and so many a waiting and tending,
that I thought to be sure a dumb-waiter was a
man they kept a purpose to carry you up and
down them stairs, and says I, If he is dumb, I
suppose he ain't blind, and he'd see what a
figure I should make a riding of a poor fellow-
creature as if he was a wild beast. No, I ain't
used to such things, and I guess my two feet's
as good dumb-waiters as I need."
I see she was a laughing, but quite good-
natured like, and says she, The children's
about dressed now, and if you won't think
strange of it, I'll ask you to mind them a
minute while I go down to get their breakfast.
I shall be right back. And you, children, you
say your prayers while I'm gone."
S3 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
Why, don't they eat with their pa and
ma says I, "and don't their ma hear them
say their prayers ?"
Not since I came here," says she. Their
ma don't care about such things as prayers. I
make 'em kneel down and say over something,
if it's only to make some difference between
them and the heathen," says she.
"But they go down to family prayers, I
hope?" says I.
She burst out a laughing, and says she, I
guess there ain't many family prayers in this
house," says she, "nor any other kind o' pray-
ers either. Folks is too busy a playing cards
and a dancing, and doing all them kinds o'
things, to get time to say prayers."
I felt so struck up that I couldn't say a
word, and I was just a going to run back to
my bed-room and look in the glass, and see if
'twas me or if wasn'tt me, when I heard a
voice close to my ear say, Find out if the old
lady drinks tea or coffee for her breakfast."
"Did you speak ?" says I, to the nuss.
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 39
"No, ma'am, wasn'tt me," says she.
Then I knew it was the Evil One prowling
round, and no wonder! and I spoke up loud
and strong, and says I, "Are you an Evil Spirit
or what are you ?" I didn't say nothing about
spirit," says the voice, "it's tea and coffee I was
a speaking of."
La it's nobody but the cook a wanting to
know what you will have for breakfast," says
the nuss. I couldn't think what made you
turn all colors so. I s'pose you ain't used to
With that she puts her mouth to a little.
hole in the wall, and then says she, "Find out
yourself," and says she to me, "These tubes
is very handy about keeping house. All
Mrs. Avery has to do is to holler down into
the kitchen what she'll have for dinner, and
there's the end of it. And it's convenient for
tde cook too, for cooks don't want no ladies a
peeking round in their kitchens."
Well," says I, I never." And I couldn't
have got out another word if I'd been to suffer.
40 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
I went down to breakfast, and Fred was
civil as need be, but his wife didn't say much,
and I was kind of afraid of her, a setting' there
in such a beautiful quilted blue wrapper, and a
lace cap and ribbons a flyin', and me in my old
calico loose gown. And sometimes when I'm
scared I get to running' on, and so I kind o' got
to talking about the house and the handsome
things, and says I, "When. I see all these
beautiful things, and the water all so handy,
and the gas a coming when it's wanted and
going away when 'tain't, and the cradle a
rocking away all of itself, and them things
to whisper into the wall with, why I almost
feel as if I'd got to heaven. Things can't
be much handier and convenienter up there,"
But when I think again that their ma don't
hear them children say their prayers, and dances
and plays cards, and don't never see the inside
of her kitchen, and all the pieces thrown away
for want of somebody to see to 'em, why then
I feel as if 'twan't exactly heaven, and as if 'twas
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 41
a longer road to git there from here than to git
to the other place."
Cousin Avery she looked kind o' bewildered
now, and Fred, he took up the newspaper and
began to read, and he read it all the rest of the
breakfast time. And when he'd done, he got
up and says he, I'm afraid you'll find it rather
dull here, aunt," says he, "but Maria must take
you out, and show you round, and amuse you
all she can;" so he took his hat and went off,
and Maria she slipped off, and I didn't know
exactly what to do, so I went up stairs to my
room, and there were three or four women all
around the washstand with pails and mops a
sopping up the water, and Maria looking on as
red and angry as could be.
"You've left the water running, and it's all
come flooding down through my ceiling and
ruined it," says she, and then she muttered
something about country folks, but I didn't
hear what, for I was so ashamed I didn't know
what to do.
If the old lady hadn't a left the wash-rag in
42 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
the basin wouldn'tt a run over," says one of
them girls, "but you see that stopped up the*
Maria she went off upon that, and I got
down and helped dry up the carpet, and kept
a begging of them all not to think hard of me
for making so much trouble, and they all was
pleasant and said twan't no matter." When
I went down they said Maria had gone out, so
I hadn't anywhere to stay unless 'twas with the
children, and I went up there, and the room
was all put to rights, and the baby a rocking
away all to himself, and the children a playing
round, and the nuss she was a basting some
"I'll hem that petticoat," said I, "if you
think I can do it to suit."
"Oh, no, it's to be done on the machine,"
said she, "but if you've a mind to baste while
I sew, why that will help along a sight. But
I'll put Gustavus into the baby-tender afore I
begin," says she, or he'll be into the machine;"
so she caught him up and fastened him into a
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 43
thing that hung from the ceiling, and left him
kind o' dangling. So I set down and basted,
and she began to make that machine go. I'd
heerd of sewing-machines, but I hadn't never
seen one, and I couldn't baste for looking and
wondering, and the nuss she made her feet fly,
and kept a asking for more work, and I hurried
and drove, but I couldn't baste to keep up
with her, and at last I stopped, and says I:
"There's one of them machines inside o' my
head, and another where my heart oughter
be," says I, and I can't stand it no longer. Do
stop sewing, and take that child out of them
straps. It's against nature for children to be so
little trouble as them are children are, and they
ought to be a playing out doors instead o' rock-
ing and jiggling up here in this hot room."
"Guess you're getting nervous," says the
nuss, and any how I've got to take 'em out to
walk, if it's only to let Mrs. Henderson see that
our children's got as handsome clothes as her'n
has, if we ain't just been to Paris. Why these
three children's jist had sixty-three new frocks
44 Fred, and Maria, and. Me.
made, and. their Ma thinks that ain't enough.
Come, Matilda,. I'll dress you first," says she.
I don't want to go to walk," says Matilda.
"Don't want to go to walk! Then how's
that Henderson girl a going to see your new
cloak and them furs o' your'n ? And your'n
cost more'n her'n, for your Ma give twenty-
eight dollars apiece for them muffs o' your'n
and your sister's, and what's the use if you
don't go down the Fifth Avenue and show
I began to feel kind o' sick and faint, and
says I to myself, If their Ma don't see to her
children I don't know as I oughter expect the
Lord to, but if He don't they'll be ruined over
and over again."
"I'll go out and walk with you and the
children if you ain't no objections, nuss," says I.
No," says she, I ain't no objections if you'll
put on your best bonnet, and fix up a lit-
So I dressed me, and I took the girls and
she took the baby, and we walked up and
Fred, and Maria. and Me. 45
down the Fifth Avenue, and I heerd one nuss
say to our'n:-
Is that your new nuss ?" says she.
"La! no, it's our aunt," says she, and then
they both burst out a laughing.
Well, it went on from day to day that I
hadn't anywhere else to stay, and so I stayed
with them children. And Fanny, the oldest
one, she got to loving me, and nothing would
do but she must sleep in my bed, so I had her
in my room, and I washed and dressed her, and
I told her stories out of the Bible and Pilgrim's
Progress, and taught her hymns; and then
Matilda she wanted to come, too, and they
moved her little bedstead in, and she slept
there, and so by degrees I got so that you
couldn't hardly tell me from the nuss. And
it was handy for her to have me stay home
every Sunday afternoon and see to the chil-
dren while she went to meeting' and home
to see her folks, and she said so, and that she
felt easy to leave 'em with me, because I'd
know what to do if any thing happened to
46 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
'em. And it got to be handy for her to
call me if the baby cried more'n common in
the night, or if he had the croup. For Gus-
tavus was a croupy child, and every time his
Ma had company, and would have him down
stairs with his apron took off, so as to show
them white arms and them round shoulders of
his, full o' dimples, why he was sure to wake
up a coughing and scaring us out of our wits.
Well, I wasn't young and spry as I used to be,
and it's wearing to lose your sleep o' nights,
and then Fred's ways and Maria's ways made
me kind o' distressed like, and Sam Avery he
kept writing and hectoring me, and saying
I ought to have the law of Fred, and Satan he
roared round some, and all together one night
after dinner, just as we was a getting up from
the table, I was took with an awful pain in my
head, and down I went flat on to the floor.
Fred he got me up, and they sent for the
door, and the door he questioned this one
and he questioned that one, and he said nusses'
places wasn't places for old ladies, and, then
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 47
again, plenty of fresh air was good for old
ladies, and to have things pleasant about 'em,
and to be took round and diverted. So I was
sick a good while, and I expe& I made a sight
of trouble, for one day they was all a sitting
round in my room, and little Fanny she stood
by the side of the bed, and says she, "Aunt
Avery, what is a Regular Nuisance?"
I don't know," says I, "I never saw one.
'Tain't one of the creeturs in Pilgrim's Pro-
gress, is it ?" says I.
For Ma says you are a Regular Nuisance,"
You naughty girl, how dare you tell such
stories ?" said her Ma, and she up and boxed
the little thing's ears until they were red.
"It ain't a story, and you did say so. You
told Mrs. Henderson-"
Hold your tongue, you silly little goose !"
said Fred. Don't mind her, Aunt Avery, she's
nothing but a child."
"They do say children and fools speak the
truth," says I, "and maybe you think I'm
48 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
a fool; and maybe I am. But I ain't deaf nor
blind, and I can't always be dumb. And
I won't deny it, Fred, I've had hard thoughts
towards you. Not about the money; I don't
care for money, and never did. But it's so
dreadful to think of your saying you was poor
when you wasn't poor, and all those things
about your little children a going out to work
for their living."
"Pshaw! that was a mere joke," cried Fred.
"You knew, as well as I did, that they were
only a parcel of babies."
"Well, and there's another thing I want to
speak of. Did Sam Avery coax me to come
here because he thought it would take a weight
off your mind; or because he thought it would
plague you and Maria to have a plain old
body like me round the house ?"
Sam Avery be hanged!" said Fred. The
fat is, Aunt Avery, I ain't worse than other
men. I was in love with Maria, and I was
determined to have her. And I wanted her to
live with me pretty'much as she had been used
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 49
to living. If you think this is too fine a house
for her to possess, why you'd better go and ex-
amine the one she was born and brought up in.
I economize all I can; we don't keep a
carriage, and Maria has often to ride in stages,
and pass up her sixpence like any old washer-
woman. And I deny myself about giving.
I give nothing to the poor, and subscribe to no
charities, except charity balls; and Sam Avery,
a sandimonious old sinner, has just give five
hundred to Foreign Missions. If it wasn't for
being twitted about the money I had from
you, I could hold up my head as high as any
man. But since you've been and set all
Goshen on to me, why my life is a dog's life,
and little more."
It cut me to the heart to think I'd kept him
so short of money that he hadn't nothing to
"Well," says I, "you'll soon have the value
of the old place, and be out of debt, besides.
For I'm going where I shall want none of
5o Fred, and Maria, and Me.
Just then I looked up, and there was Maria
standing in front of Fred, her face white and
her lips trembling. She had gone out with
the child, and we hadn't noticed she'd come
"Do you mean to say you've been borrow-
ing money of this old woman, and have been
deceiving me all along by pretending she gave
it to you ? Look me in the face, then, if you
"What a fuss about a few thousand dollars!"
returned he. Of course I expect to repay her
all she's let me have. And you, Maria, are
the last person to complain. Was not this
house your own choice ? And how did you
suppose a man of my age could afford to buy
it without help ?"
Maria made no answer. It seemed as if all
her love for him had turned into contempt.
I riz up in the bed, as weak as I was, and
says I, "Fred Avery, come here to me, and
you, Maria, come here too, and you two kiss
each other and make-up, right away, or I shall
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 51
die here in this house, and can't have my own
minister to bury me, and shall have to put up
with your'n. Why, what's money when you
come to putting it along side of dwelling
together in unity? Quick, get a paper, and
let me sign it; and say in the paper it was my
free gift, and I never lent none of it; and, oh
hurry, Fred, for I feel so faint and dizzy!"
"I believe you've killed the poor old soul!"
said Maria, and she fanned me, and held salts
to my nose, and tried to make me lie down.
But I wouldn't, and kept making signs for the
paper, for I thought I was going to drop away
in no time.
"Get the paper this instant, Fred," said
Maria, pretty much as if he was one of the
children. So he went and got it, and I signed
my name, and then I lay back on the pillow,
and I don't know what happened next, only I
felt 'em fanning me, and a pouring things
down my throat; and one says, Open the
window !" and another says, "It's no use !" and
then I heard a child's voice set up such a wail
52 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
that my old heart began to beat again, and I
opened my eyes and there was little Fanny,
and she crept up on to the bed, and laid her
soft face against mine, and said, You won't
go and die, Aunt Avery, and leave your poor
little Fanny'?" and I knew I mustn't go and
leave that wail a sounding in her Ma's ears.
And when I know I ought not to do a thing,
I don't do it. So that time I didn't die.
Well! it's an easy thing to slip down to the
bottom of the hill, but it ain't half so easy to
get up again as it is to lay there in a heap, a
doing nothing. And it took a sight of wine
whey, and calves' feet jelly, and ale and porter,
and them intemperate kind of things to drag me
a little way at a time back into the world
again. I didn't see much of Fred, but Maria
used to come up and sit in my room, and
work on a little baby's blanket she was a cover-
ing with leaves and flowers, and sometimes
she'd speak quite soft and gentle like, and
coax me to take my beef-tea, just as if she
wanted me to get well. She wasn't never
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 53
much of a talker, but we got used to each
other more'n I ever thought we should. And
one day-there I know it was silly, but when
she was giving me something, I took hold of
that pretty soft hand of hers and kissed it.
And the color came and went in her face, and
she burst out a crying, and says she:
"I shouldn't have cared so much, only I
wanted to love Fred !"
That was all she ever said to me about him
after I'd signed that paper, but when folks'
hearts are full they ain't apt to go to talking
much, and I knew now that Maria had got a
heart, and that it was full, and more too.
At last I got strong enough to ride out, and
Maria went with me, and after a while she
used to stop at Stewart's and such places to do
her shopping, and I would stay in the carriage
until she got through. I wanted to see what
sort of a place Stewart's was, for I heerd tell
of it many a time, but I thought Maria
wouldn't want to have me go in with her, and
that maybe I could go some time by myself.
C4 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
I asked her what they kept there, and she said,
" Oh, every thing," and' I'm sure the shop looked
as big as all out doors. She used to get into
a stage sometimes to go down town, and I
watched all she did in them stages, so as to
know how to manage, and one day I slipped
out and got into the first one that came along,
for, thinks I, why shouldn't I go to Stewart's if
I've a mind, all by myself?
It carried me up this street and across that,
and at last it stopped near a railroad depot, and
all the passengers but me got out. I waited a
little while, and at last I got up, and says I to
the driver, "Ain't you a going no further ?"
"No, I ain't," says he.
"But I want to go to Stewart's," says I.
I've no obje&ions, ma'am," says he, and
began to beat his arms about, and blow his
hands, as if he was froze. I didn't know what
to do, or where I was, but pretty soon he
turned his horses' heads about, and began to go
back the very way we'd come. So I pulled the
check, and says I, I want to go to Stewart's."
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 55
Well, ain't you going Y" says he, and I
don't know as there's any need to pull a fellow's
"I beg your pardon, I didn't mean to hurt you,"
says I, and with that I sat down, and we rode
and rode till we got into Broadway, and then
I began to watch all the signs on the shops,
so as to get out at the right place. At las
we got most down to the ferries, so I asked a
man that had got in if we hadn't passed
Oh yes, long ago," says he.
"Dear me, I must get out, then," says I. "I
told the driver I wanted to go there, but I
suppose he has a good deal on his mind a pick-
ing his way along, and so forgot it." So I got
out and began to walk up the street, and I ran
against everybody and everybody ran against
me, and I came near getting run over a dozen
times, and was so confused that I didn't rightly
know how far I'd walked, so I stopped a girl,
and says I, "Oh, do you know where Stewart's
56 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
La, it's three or four blocks down so," says
I didn't see no sign up," says I, and so I
I guess you'll have to look till dark if
you're looking for signs," says she, and away
she went. I was pretty well used up, I was so
tired, but I went back, and this time I found
it and went in. The first thing I asked for
was tape. We don't keep it," says the clerk.
"Do you keep fans ?" says I.
No, fans are not in our line."
Well, have you got any brown Windsor
No, they hadn't got any kind of soap. There
was some other little things I wanted, such as
pins, and needles, and buttons, but I didn't
like to ask for 'em, for if they didn't happen to
have none of 'em, it might hurt their feelings
to have people know it. But there was one
thing I thought I'd venture to ask for, and
that was a velvet cloak. I'd heerd Maria say
a new kind of spring cloak was uncommon
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 57
handy, and I had twenty dollars in my pocket
a purpose to buy it with. For I kind o' liked
Maria, and I pitied her too, for she and Fred
didn't seem good friends, and then I had made
so much trouble when I was sick.
The clerk said yes, they had some, but, says
he, They're very expensive," and never offered
to show them to me. Well, I ain't perfect,
and I felt a little riled in my feelings. And
says I, as mild as I could, I didn't say nothing
about the price. I asked you if you'd got any
o' them cloaks." Upon that he took out one
or two, and I liked them pretty well, though
when I heerd the price I found my twenty
dollars warn't going to help much; but then
I didn't care. "I don't want no such finery
myself," thinks I, "but Maria's young and she
wants it, and she and Fred feel pretty bad, and
I don't know as it's any of Sam Avery's
business how I spend my money. Folks down
to Goshen they might say Aunt Avery she's
grown worldly and fond of the pomps and
vanities, but then 'tain't true if they do say it.
58 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
'Tain't worldly to wear good clothes, and 'taint
pious to wear bad ones. The Lord don't look
on the outside, and I have a feeling that it's
right for Maria to have one o' them cloaks."
So I says to the man, Won't you be so
good as to let me carry home two o' them
cloaks to show Mrs. Avery, for I don't know
which of 'em she'd like best." He stared at
me half a minute, and then says he, "Are you
her seamstress ?"
No, I ain't," says I. "I suppose you think
there ain't no ladies but what wears silks and
satins, and laces, and velvets. But I'll tell you
what, Abijah Pennell, when you've lived in
this world as long as I have you won't judge
folks jest by their clothes."
He colored up and looked at me pretty
sharp, and says he, Excuse me for not recog-
nizing you, Miss Avery. It's so many years
since I left Goshen. I'll send the cloaks for
you with pleasure. Won't you have one for
"No, Abijah, no," says I, them 'ere cloaks
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 59
ain't for old women like me." So I bid him
good-by, and all the clerks good-by that stood
round a laughing in their sleeves, and I went
out to look for a stage, and there was a nice
policeman a standing there, so I told him where
I wanted to go, for, thinks I, it makes a good
deal of odds which stage you get into, and he
put me in, and I sat down by a man with a
gold ring on his finger, and little short, black
curls round his forehead, and he was quite
sociable, and I told him where I'd been, and
how I hadn't bought nothing, and then we
talked about the weather, and at last he got
out. And just after that I put my hand into
my pocket to get at my purse, and there wasn't
no purse there.
"Goodness !" says I to all the folks in the
stage, my purse ain't in my pocket !"
That man with the curly hair sat pretty close
to you," says one of the passengers. "But it's
no use trying to catch him now."
"But I ain't got no money to pay my fare,"
says I, "and I must get right out." So 1 made
6o Fred, and Maria, and Me.
the driver stop, and says I, "I'm very sorry,
Mister, but my pocket's been picked and I
can't pay my fare."
You don't come that dodge over me, old
woman," says he. If you can't pay your fare
you'd better git out and walk." So I got out
and walked till I was ready to drop, but when
I went in, there was Maria admiring of them
cloaks, and says she:
"Aunt Avery, somebody's sent me these
cloaks to choose which I'll have, and I'm
afraid it's Fred. And Fred's riot going to
make up with me with cloaks, I can tell
"No, dear," says I, it ain't Fred, it's your
old aunt, that wants to see you pleased and
happy, and that's went down to Stewart's and
picked out them cloaks."
"La I never !" says she, "I thought you
had an idea that everybody ought to wear
sackcloth and ashes." But she did seem sort of
pleased and grateful, and Fred did too, when
he came home, ana he and Maria behaved
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 61
quite decent to each other, but I could see
there was something on their minds, and that
they weren't good friends by no means.
Little Fanny, she and I kept together a
good deal, for she wasn't no care, and Gus-
tavus, he got to be hanging around his old
aunt, and I taught him to come in every night
to say his prayers. That night he was so good,
and coaxed so prettily to sleep with me, that I
thought I wouldn't care if the door did
scold, the dear child should have his way now
and then. And seeing the little creature a
lying there so innocent and so handsome, and
a looking jest as Fred used to look, I couldn't
help praying more'n common for him, and says
I to myself, "He won't have the croup to-
night, any how, with me to cover him up and
keep him warm." But about two o'clock
I was woke out of a sound sleep with that 'ere
cougL of his. It went through me like a
knife, and I got up and gave him his drops
right away, and put on more coal, and
covered him up warmer, but he didn't seem
02 Fred, and Maria. and Me.
no better, so I had to go and call Fred to go
for the door.
Well! well! there's some has to toil and
fight, and work their way up hill toward the
heavenly places, and there's some that never
know nothing about no kind o' battling, and,
their little white feet never go long enough
over the dusty road to get soiled or tired. And
when the daylight came in at my windows
that morning, Fred and Maria was good friends
again, and he had his arms around her, and she
clung close to him, but little Gustavus was
gone. Gone where such dreadful words as
money ain't never mentioned; gone straight
up to the great white throne without no fears
and no misgivings! Oh, Fred, you're a rich
man now, for you've got a child up in heaven.
That night Maria had the children kneel
down and say their prayers in her room, but I
never see her shed no tears, nor heard her a
grieving. She hid her poor broken heart
away in her bosom, and there wan't no getting
at it to comfort it. I couldn't but lay awake
-7 I, i
l 1, ,"
,, -' i! ,"'* i
\7 Lll 11 1 '
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 63
nights a hearing of her a walking up and down
in her room, and a chafing and a wearing all to
herself, and them tears she couldn't shed was a
wetting my pillow and fairly a. bathing my
poor prayers for her.
We had an early spring this year, and Fred
said the doctor told him I'd better not stay in
New York till warm weather came. So I
wrote to Sam Avery, and told him I was a
coming home in May, and I thought I ought
to tell him how I'd gone contrary to his ad-
vice, and signed away all I'd ever lent Fred,
and made him a life member of the Bible
Society and them. And I asked him not to
feel hard to me, and to see that the Widow
Dean had my room ready against I got back.
Maria was stiller than ever, and hardly ever
talked at all, and Fred looked full of care, and
yet more as he used to when he was a boy.
And we parted kindly, and Maria as good as
said she was sorry to have me go, 'only it was
time to take the children out of town. Fanny,
she said she was a going with me, and she got
64 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
a little trunk and put her things in it, and was
as busy as a bee folding and packing. And
when I saw her heart so set upon it, I felt
a pang such as I never felt before, to think
I hadn't got no home to take her to, and how
it wouldn't do to venture her on the Widow
Dean, who couldn't abide children. Well!
her Pa had to carry her off by main force when
the carriage came, and I had a dull journey
home, for I didn't seem to have no home, only
the name of one. For I never took to
It was past five o'clock when I got to Goshen
post-office, and thinks I, Sam Avery won't be
upbraiding of me to-night, for it's quite a piece
from his house over to the Widow's. But who
should I see a waiting there but Sam and his
fow d'ye do ? Aunt Avery, glad to see you
home again," says he, "jump right into the shay
and I'll get your trunk. Amanda, she's waiting
tea for you, and I rather think you'll find it
bilin' hot," says he.
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 65
"But I was a going to the Widow Dean's,"
"Don't talk no Widow Dean's to me," says
Sam, "but you jest get into that shay o' mine
and go where you're took to, Aunt Avery."
And how nice and clean and shiny Aman-
da's house did look, to be sure! And how she
kissed me, and said over and over 'twas good to
get me home again. And how that tea did
build me up, and make me feel young and
spry as I used to feel in old times.
Well, after tea I put on an apron she lent
me, and she and me we washed up and cleared
away, and Sam, he read a chapter, and we had
prayers, and I went to bed, and I never knew
nothing after I laid my head on the pillow, but
slept all night like a little baby.
At breakfast, I expended Sam would begin
about Fred, but he didn't, and Amanda she
didn't; and we two we washed up the dishes
and swept the floors, and made the beds, and
Amanda she let me do jest as I was a mind to,
and it didn't seem like boardin' at all. And
66 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
after a while I left off expeEting Sam to hector
me about Fred, and got to feeling easy in my
mind. And we had the minister to tea, and
his wife and children, and you never saw
nobody so pleased as they was at their things.
For of course I wasn't going to New York
without getting a black silk gown for my min-
ister's wife, and a doll for little Rebecca, and
wooden cats and dogs for the rest of'em. Sam
Avery he was a going and a coming more'n
common this spring, and he says to me one
day, Aunt Avery, don't you go to looking at
the old place when you're wandering out.
Ydu see Squire Jackson's been a cutting and a
hacking, and there's a good deal going on
there, and it might rile your feelings to see the
muss," says he.
So I didn't go near the old place, and I didn't
want to, and the time it slipped by and I got
to feeling that nothing aggravating hadn't never
happened to me. Folks come for Aunt Avery
when they was sick, jest as they used to, and
the minister he dropped in every now and
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 67
then, and Deacon Morse he had over plenty
of them rough sayings of his that didn't mean
nothing but good-will, and so I felt quite to
home. There wasn't but one thing a stinging
of me, and that was Fred and his ways, and
Maria and her ways. And I kind o' yearned
after them children, and couldn't help a think-
ing, if I hadn't been and sold the old place,
there'd always been a home for them in the
summer time, and a plenty of new milk and
Well! it got to be well on into July, and one
afternoon Sam Avery he come in, and says he,
" Aunt Avery, you put on your bonnet and get
into the shay and go right down to the old
place. There's somebody down there wants
looking after," says he.
"Dear me, is any of 'em sick ?" says I. And
I put on my things, and Sam whipped up the
old horse, and next news, we was driving up to
the house. Things didn't look so changed
after all. Them trees was gone, there's no
denying of it, but there wasn't nothing else
68 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
gone, and when I went in there wasn't none ,'
Squire Jackson's red and yaller carpets on the
floors, nor none o' his things a laying about.
But there was my little light-stand a setting in
the corner, and my old Bible on it, with the
spedacles handy, jest as they used to be, and
our cat she come a rubbing of herself against
me, as much as to say, Glad to see you back,
Aunt Avery," and then two little children, they
come running up, and one kissed me and the
other hugged me, and 'twas Fanny and Matildy,
and then Fred Avery he walks up, and says
he, "Welcome home, Aunt Avery !" and Maria
she takes both o' my old hands and a squeezes of
'em up to her heart, and then says she, Here's
our new baby come to see you, and her name's
Aunt Avery," says she, and she put it into my
arms, and wasn'tt bigger than a kitten, but it
had a little mite of a smile a shining on its face
all ready a waiting for me. By this time I was
a'most beat out, but they set me down in my
old chair, and them children they was round
me, and Fred a smiling, and Maria a smiling,
j r2 'Ii
Fred, and Maria, and Me 69
and Sam Avery a sharing hands with every-
body, and I didn't pretend to make nothing out
o' nobody, for I knew wasn'tt nothing real,
only something I was reading out of a book.
Only that 'ere little baby that was named Aunt
Avery, it held tight hold o' one o' my fingers
with its tiny little pink hand, and that wasn't
nothing you could read out of a book, no how.
And then Amanda she opened the door into
the big kitchen, and there was a great long
table set out with my best china and things,
and our minister and his wife, and all them
children, and Deacon Morse and the Widow
Dean, they'd come to tea. And the minister
he stood up, and says he, "Let us pray." And
in his prayer he told the Lord all about it,
though I guess the Lord knew before, how
Maria had made Fred sell that big house of
his, and how he'd bought me back the old
place, and how we was all come to tea, and a
good many other things I couldn't rightly hear
for the crying and the sobbing that was a going
on all around. And then we had tea, and I
70 Fred, and Maria, and Me.
never thought when Amanda made me fry all
them dough-nuts and stir up such a sight o'
cake what 'twas all a coming to, for it's my
opinion that nobody knows when they does a
thing, what's a going to come next, though the
Lord he knows all along.
Well, it begun to grow dark, and one after
another they all come and bid me good-night,
till at last everybody was gone but me and
Maria, and them children of hers. And Maria
came up to me, and says she, "Does the old
place look pleasant, Aunt Avery but I couldn't
answer her for them tears that kept a choking
me. And so she said if I didn't mind, and it
wouldn't be too much trouble, she wanted to
stay with me the rest of the summer, till Fred
could get a new, honest home for her some-
where else. Wasn't that just like an angel
now, after all the trouble I'd been and made for
her, a setting of her against her husband, and a
turning of her out of her beautiful house and
home, and a making her buy back for me my
old place ? So she and me we undressed them
Fred, and Maria, and Me. 71
children, and made them kneel down and say
their, prayers, and we put them to bed up
stairs, and I began to feel to home.
And Maria she staid till cold weather came,
and she sat and read my old Bible, and 'talked
to them children about the place Gustavus had
traveled to, and she paid respect to our minis-
ter, and wiped up the china when I washed it,
and fitted her ways to my ways quite meek
And Fred paid back every cent he'd bor-
rowed, for he'd kept account, and knew all
about it, and he started fair and square in the
world again, owing nothing to nobody. So
now I've a home for him and Maria and the
children, and the old house is full of Averys
once more, and so is the old pew, and all the
taxes paid up regular.
So you are a rich man now, Fred, and you're
a rich woman, Maria, for you've got a child up