hold his water, so he always smelled of piss, a stench
J.C. was exceedingly good-natured, and tossing his cigar into the grass he replied, "You don't mean me, of course; but tell us more of this Maude, who mops the floor and mends Nellie's dresses."
"She don't mop the floor," muttered John. "This nigger wouldn't let her do that--but she does mend Nellie's gownds, which I wouldn't do, if I's worth as much money as she is!"
If J.C. had been interested before, he was doubly interested now, and coming nearer to John he said: "Money, my good fellow! Is Maude an heiress?"
"She aint nothin' else," returned John, who proceeded to speak of Janet and her generous gift, the amount of which he greatly exaggerated. "Nobody knows how much 'tis," said he: "but everybody s'poses that will and all it must be thirty or forty thousand," and as the doctor was just then seen riding into the yard John walked away to attend to his master's horse.
"Those butter and cheese men do accumulate money fast," said J.C., more to himself than to his companion, who laughingly replied, "It would be funny if you should make this Maude my cousin instead of Nellie. Let me see--Cousin Nellie--Cousin Maude. I like the sound of the latter the best, though I am inclined to think she is altogether too good for a mercenary dog like you."
"Pshaw!" returned J.C., pulling at the maple leaves which grew above his head, "I hope you don't think I'd marry a rude country girl for her money. No, give me la charmant Nellie, even though she cannot mend her dress, and you are welcome to Cousin Maude, the milkman's heiress."
At that moment Mrs. Kelsey and Nellie appeared upon the stoop, and as Maude was no longer visible the young gentlemen returned to the parlor, where J.C. asked Nellie to favor him with some music. Nellie liked to play, for it showed her white hands to advantage, and seating herself at the piano she said: "I have learned a new song since I saw you, but Maude must sing the other part--maybe, though, I can get along without her."
This last was said because she did not care to have Maude in the parlor, and she had inadvertently spoken of her singing. The young men, however, were not as willing to excuse her, and Maude was accordingly sent for. She came readily, and performed her part without the least embarrassment, although she more than once half paused to listen to the rich, full tones of James' voice, for he was an unusually fine singer; Maude had never heard anything like it before, and when the song was ended the bright, sparkling eyes which she turned upon him told of her delight quite as eloquently as words could have done.
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