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Collection of tales and sketches that describe men and women, odds and ends of observation.
 

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Page 34 - The glum old men in worn blue coats used to gather in a knot in a farthest corner, and in low tones, not to interrupt his discourse, would chat to each other of crops, fishing, and politics. Somewhere we have a scrapbook in which an ironic cousin of mine carefully pasted in all the newspaper articles that were written about Uncle Giles in his old age, and the many handsome obituary notices which appeared when he finally died. I can remember my father's getting it out occasionally, and reading the...
Page 28 - We know all about him, and it is not on our front porches that he comes to display his tact and loyalty, and the decorum and grace of his manners. As for allowing the faintest trace of Uncle-Gilesism to color our own lives, there is not one of us who would not rush out to earn his living by breaking stone by the road-side rather than accept even the most genuinely voluntary loan. We are, as Uncle Giles felt, a very commonplace family, of the most ordinary Anglo-Saxon stock, with no illuminating vein...
Page 29 - ... stodgy as far as social injustice is concerned. But our imaginations seem to have been torn open by Uncle Giles as by a charge of dynamite ; and, having once understood what he meant, we hang to that comprehension with all our dull Anglo-Saxon tenacity. We have a deep, unfailing sympathy with anyone who is trying to secure a better and fairer adjustment of burdens in human life, because we see in our plain dull way that what he is trying to do is to eliminate the Uncle Gileses from society and...
Page 80 - We brag now about his single-handed victory over old age and loneliness, and we keep talking about him to the children, just as we brag about our grandfather's victories in the Civil War, and talk to the children about the doings of the Green Mountain Boys. Old Man Warner has become history. We take as much satisfaction in the old fellow's spunk, as though he had been our own grandfather, and we spare our listeners no detail of his story: "... And there he stuck year after year, with the whole town...
Page 31 - Bible somewhere, but there is a fierce family tradition against fussing over your health which is as vivid this minute as on the day when the brother or cousin or nephew of Uncle Giles turned away with discourteous haste from the shining-faced lady and stamped rudely into another room. Doctors enter our homes for a broken leg or for a confinement, but seldom for anything else. When the Civil War came on, and Uncle Giles was the only man in the family left at home, he rose splendidly to the occasion...
Page 75 - He paid spot cash for what he bought in his semiyearly trips to the village to "do trading," as our phrase goes. He bought very little — a couple of pairs of overalls a year, a bag apiece of sugar and coffee and rice and salt and flour, some raisins and pepper. And once or twice during the long period of his hermit life an overcoat and a new pair of trousers. What he brought down from his farm was more than enough to pay for such purchases, for he continued to cultivate his land, less and less...
Page 25 - To this day the family bristles rise at the mention of any one who openly professes to be a gentleman. A gentleman should not be forced to the menial task of earning his living. Uncle Giles was never forced to the menial task of earning his living. None of the coarsely materialistic forces in human life ever succeeded in forcing him to it, not even the combined and violent efforts of a good many able-bodied and energetic kinspeople. The tales of how Uncle Giles blandly outwitted their stubfingered...
Page 80 - ... tiny, crooked old body was fully dressed, even to a fur cap and mittens, and in one hand was his sharp, well-ground ax. One stove-lid was off, and a charred stick of wood lay half in and half out of the firebox. Evidently the old man had stepped to the fire to put in a stick of wood before he went out to split some more, and had been stricken instantly, before he could move a step. His cold, white old face was composed and quiet, just as it had always been in life. The two lumbermen fed the half-starved...
Page 33 - Giles held everyone breathless with his descriptions of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville ; and when he spoke of Mobile Bay and Sherman's march, how his voice pealed, how his fine eyes lighted up ! Strangers used to say to themselves that it was easy to see what an eloquent preacher he must have been when he was...
Page 29 - bore up" in all circumstances, even on busy wash-days when there was no time to prepare one of the dainty little dishes which the delicacy of his taste enabled him so greatly to appreciate. Uncle Giles always said of the rude, vigorous, hearty, undiscriminating men of the family that they could "eat anything.

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