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;Short Complete Story.


Short Complete Story. DELAYED IN TRANSMISSION. By MABEL QUILLER COUGH. John Carter stood at his own door with a coI, of rope in his hand and an expression of fear or his face. His wife was within, scrubbing; sh< had cleaned her doorstep and was just scrubbing the last square yard of her kitchen. A shadow across the broad patch of sunshine which fell on the floor made her look up. When she saw hei husband standing there with muddy boots on her clean doorstep her ire was roused, and quickly found voice. Why, John," she cried in an injured argu- mentative tone, what be doing there like a great buffle-'ead right 'pon my clean step Take and get off, quick. Whyever couldn't 'ee 'ave stood outside and called in to me what you wanted, or 'ave took off your boots and com'd in in your stockinged feet, same as 1v'e got to myself at the cost of catching cold "-with more asperity—" rather than dirty up the place so soon as ever I've got it cleaned ? John stepped back and looked down with fear and sorrow at the havoc he had caused. On the fair blue stone were two large muddy foot marks and the trail of a dirty rope. He had hurried up from the pond where he had gone to water his horses, and the end of the wet rope had trailed all the way through the white dust. His wife saw the mark too, and the first mutter ings of the storm passed without a single break into the second stage, growing rapidly more pro- nounced. Of course your own great foot-marks wasn't enough, but you must try 'ow you can make more work for me. I dunno "-her wrath work- ing to a higher and still higher pitch-" I dunno, I really don't, what you men thinks women-folk is made for, unless 'tis to clean up after 'ee and cook your vitals for 'ee, and mind your 'ouse, and save your money, and look after 'ee same as if you was poor 'elpless babes. It passes me it do, it passes my understanding altogether. Here am 1 a-working and a-slaving from five in the morning till late at night, all to keep you and your place respectable, and no sooner have I got it all tidy and begin to think I can 'ave five minutes' rest than in you comes, as regular as if you done it on purpose, a-trapesin' all over the stones I've been down on my 'ands and knees scrubbing my life out over. "Tisn't no manner of use telling me you didn't know it's my be- lief 'tis done on purpose—'tis done to aggravate me "—shrilly. Don't you put me down for a fool, John Carter. 1 can see, I can see same as other people can, and can come and tell me of it, 'tis done to aggravate me to try to make me lose my temper that you may go away and talk about it. But you won't get what you wants John Carter, I can tell you; and you can put that in your pipe and smoke it. I haven't scrubbed your 'ouse through and through for the last twenty years without learning something, y and 'twould be very 'ard if I 'adn't got the length of your foot by this time. Do 'ee think I didn't know that HO soon as ever I'd got the place looking a bit hereafter you would come a-trampin' it over with all the dirt you could find. What do you want to come here for ? John raised his head for the first time to speak. You didn't want nothing, I knows that as well as you if you'd u-wantzd anything I wouldn't 'a\8 minded. I'm not one to keep their place for ornament and never allow anybody to walk over it after 'tis clean, as some people does; but 1 do 'old that it shouldn't be made dirtv wilful, just for aggravation, and 1 shouldn't call myself a man if 1 'ad to stoop to such ways. If I let the place go and didn't keep it clean I know who'd be the tirst to run and tell the neigh- bours that 'is wife never did nothing, but left her place like a pig-sty. Don't stand there like great gawk "-stamping her foot at him- you can't undo what you've done. If you'd fcot the sense for it I'd make 'ee go down upon your 'ands and knees and clean it, same as I've got to ten minutes after I've done it once; but you 'ven't a-got sense, that's were 'tis. If you was a child you'd be slapped, and if you was a woman you could take and clean it; but just 'cause you'm a man— Oh, my goodness "-with awful scorn. Then when you've stood there and worried me past en- durance you'll go and tell folks as 'ow I lost my temper. Just as if you never lost yours And you been standing there going on at me for ten minutes and more by the clock." A change in her voice denoted that tears were near at hand. Once more her husband opened his mouth to speak, and once again had to shut it for want of an opportunity. And you calling yourself a man, too, and standing there all this time. Just as though you hadn't nothing better to do than bully a woman I won't "—wii;h sudden determination, flinging soap, brush and floorcloth, one after the other, fpr-»n h81" Mo T won't si"iid it, no Inntmr' I'm blest it I ao Ill leave ee Jorui t arter, and go 'way 'ome to feyUier I won't stand here to be becalled no longer And when folks asks what's become of me you can tell 'em what lies you please. I know you won't tell 'em the truth and say as you drove me to it. So —hysterically—" good-bye, John Carter. You 3an wash your kitchen yourself, and you can get your meals yourself, and you can look after the children yourself. So good-bye, and I 'opes you'll get on. 1 should like to see my poor little Johnnie once more ju.-T to say good-bye, if" -with boundless sarcasm—" y< u've no objec- 'ions. I don't ask to be 'lo", (i to 'ave him altogether, if you will kindly let me see him once more. Would you mind filing me where and when 1 can see birn '■ For the first time s :e paused for an answer, and John was able to speak. That's wh-it I've been w i ina to tell 'ee," he said slowly, Jolmnie t- in «i.c pond 1 -n

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