Susan Clegg and Her Friend Mrs. Lathrop by Anne Warner


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Page 1




Contents


Page
I
The Marrying of Susan Clegg 1

II
Miss Clegg's Adopted 43

III
Jathrop Lathrop's Cow 83

IV
Susan Clegg's Cousin Marion 126

V
The Minister's Vacation 166




SUSAN CLEGG

_And her Friend Mrs. Lathrop_




I

THE MARRYING OF SUSAN CLEGG


Susan Clegg and Mrs. Lathrop were next-door neighbors and bosom
friends. Their personalities were extremely congenial, and the
theoretical relation which the younger woman bore to the elder was a
further bond between them. Owing to the death of her mother some
twenty years before, Susan had fallen into the position of a helpless
and timid young girl whose only key to the problems of life in general
had been the advice of her older and wiser neighbor. As a matter of
fact Mrs. Lathrop was barely twelve years the senior, but she had
married and as a consequence felt and was felt to be immeasurably the
more ancient of the two.

Susan had never married, for her father--a bedridden paralytic--had
occupied her time day and night for years. He was a great care and as
she did her duty by him with a thoroughness which was praiseworthy in
the extreme she naturally had very little leisure for society. Mrs.
Lathrop had more, because her family consisted of but one son, and she
was not given to that species of housekeeping which sweeps under the
beds too often. It therefore came about that the one and only
recreation which the friends could enjoy together to any great extent
was visiting over the fence. Visiting over the fence is an occupation
in which any woman may indulge without fear of unkind criticism. If
she takes occasion to run in next door, she is of course leaving the
house which she ought to be keeping, but she can lean on the fence all
day without feeling derelict as to a single duty. Then, too, there is
something about the situation which produces a species of agreeable
subconsciousness that one is at once at home and abroad. It followed
that Susan and Mrs. Lathrop each wore a path from her kitchen door to
the trysting-spot, and that all summer long they met there early and
late.

Mrs. Lathrop did the listening while she chewed clover. Just beyond
her woodpile red clover grew luxuriantly, and when she started for the
place of meeting it was her invariable custom to stop and pull a
number of blossoms so that she might eat the tender petals while
devoting her attention to the business in hand.

It must be confessed that the business in hand was nearly always Miss
Clegg's business, but since Mrs. Lathrop, in her position of
experienced adviser, was deeply interested in Susan's exposition of
her own affairs, that trifling circumstance appeared of little moment.

One of the main topics of conversation was Mr. Clegg. As Mr. Clegg had
not quitted his bed for over a score of years, it might seem that his
novelty as a subject of discussion would have been long since
exhausted. But not so. His daughter was the most devoted of daughters,
and his name was ever rife on her lips. What he required done for him
and what he required done to him were the main ends of her existence,
and the demands of his comfort, daily or annual, resulted in numerous
phrases of a startling but thoroughly intelligible order. Of such a
sort was her usual Saturday morning greeting to Mrs. Lathrop, "I 'm
sorry to cut you off so quick, but this 's father's day to be beat up
and got into new pillow-slips," or her regular early-June remark,
"Well, I thank Heaven 't father 's had his hair picked over 'n' 't
he's got his new tick for _this_ year!"

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Wed 17th Jul 2019, 1:11