A Poor Wise Man (Chapter 20, page 1 of 23)

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Chapter 20

Ellen was staying at the Boyd house. She went downstairs the morning after her arrival, and found the bread--bakery bread--toasted and growing cold on the table, while a slice of ham, ready to be cooked, was not yet on the fire, and Mrs. Boyd had run out to buy some milk.

Dan had already gone, and his half-empty cup of black coffee was on the kitchen table. Ellen sniffed it and raised her eyebrows.

She rolled up her sleeves, put the toast in the oven and the ham in the frying pan, with much the same grimness with which she had sat the night before listening to Mrs. Boyd's monologue. If this was the way they looked after Willy Cameron, no wonder he was thin and pale. She threw out the coffee, which she suspected had been made by the time-saving method of pouring water on last night's grounds, and made a fresh pot of it. After that she inspected the tea towels, and getting a tin dishpan, set them to boil in it on the top of the range.

"Enough to give him typhoid," she reflected.

Ellen disapproved of her surroundings; she disapproved of any woman who did not boil her tea towels. And when Edith came down carefully dressed and undeniably rouged she formed a disapproving opinion of that young lady, which was that she was trying to land Willy Cameron, and that he would be better dead than landed.

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