he turned to his work

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"Oh, I'm not complaining!" he said, laughing. "I like the trait."
He took a small pitcher and went to the dairy.  Returning, he poured out two glasses of milk and said, "Here's to your health and happiness, Alida; and when I don't

stand up for the woman who started out to save me from a mob of murderers, may the next thing I eat or drink choke me.  You didn't know they were merely a lot of

Oakville boys, did you?"
"You can't make so light of it," said she. "They tried to close on you, and if that stone had struck you on the temple, it might have killed you.  They swore like

pirates, and looked like ruffians with their blackened faces.  They certainly were not boys in appearance."

"Oh, come now!  Please quit, or I'll begin to swear a little to keep up the reputation my neighbors have given me.  Go home and tell Tim to brace up and try to be a

man.  When I say I'm done with a grudge, I AM done.  You and Mrs. Holcroft can talk all you like, but please excuse me," and with more than most men's horror of a

scene, he escaped precipitately.
"Sit down, Mrs. Weeks," said Alida kindly.
"Well, I will.  I can't say much to excuse myself or my folks--"
"You've already said everything, Mrs. Weeks," interrupted Alida gently; "you've said you are sorry."
Mrs. Weeks stared a moment, and then resumed sententiously, "Well, I've heard more gospel in that remark than if I'd gone to church.  And I couldn't go to church, I

could never have gone there again or held my head up anywhere if--if--"
"That's all past and gone," said Alida, smiling. "When Mr. Holcroft says anything, you may depend on it."
"Well, God bless you for intercedin'--you had so much to forgive. Nobody shall ever speak a word against you again while I've got breath to answer.  I wish you'd let

me come and see you sometimes."
"Whenever you wish, if you care to visit one who has had so much--so much trouble."
"I see now that's all the more reason I should come, for if it hadn't been for you, I'd have been in bitter trouble myself.  We've been worse than heathen, standin'

off and talking against you.  Oh, I've had a lesson I won't forget!  Well, I must hurry home, for I left Timothy and Lemuel in a dreadful state."
Seeing the farmer in the barn as she was passing, she rushed to him. "You've got to shake hands with me, Mr. Holcroft.  Your wife IS a good woman, and she's a lady,

too.  Anyone with half an eye can see she's not one of the common sort."
The farmer shook the poor woman's hand good-naturedly and said heartily, "That's so!  All right, meeting's over.  Goodbye."  Then  and chuckled,

"That's what Tom Watterly said.  Thank the Lord!  She ISN'T of the common sort.  I've got to brace up and be more of a man as well as Tim Weeks."
In spite of the pain in his head, Alida's words proved true.  He was happier than he had been in many a long day.  He had the glow which follows a generous act, and

the thought that he had pleased a sweet little woman who somehow seemed very attractive to him that May morning; at the same time the old Adam in his nature led to a

sneaking satisfaction that he had laid on the hickory so unsparingly the evening before.
Alida uttered a low, happy laugh as she heard him whistling "Coronation" in jig time, and she hustled away the breakfast things with the eagerness of a girl, that

she might be ready to read to him when he came in.

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