A Spinner in the Sun (Chapter 8, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 8

"Laddie," said the Piper to the yellow mongrel, "we'll be having breakfast now."

The dog answered with a joyous yelp. "You talk too much," observed his master, in affectionate reproof; "'t is fitting that small yellow dogs should be seen and not heard."

It was scarcely sunrise, but the Piper's day began--and ended--early. He had a roaring fire in the tiny stove which warmed his shop, and the tea-kettle hummed cheerily. All about him was the atmosphere of immaculate neatness. It was not merely the lack of dust and dirt, but a positive cleanliness.

His beardless face was youthful, but the Piper's hair was tinged with grey at the temples. One judged him to be well past forty, yet fully to have retained his youth. His round, rosy mouth was puckered in a whistle as he moved about the shop and spread the tiny table with a clean cloth.

Ranged about him in orderly rows was his merchandise. Tom Barnaby never bothered with fixtures and showcases. Chairs, drygoods boxes, rough shelves of his own making, and a few baskets sufficed him.

In the waterproof pedler's pack which he carried on his back when his shop was in transit, he had only the smaller articles which women continually need. Calico, mosquito netting, buttons, needles, thread, tape, ribbons, stationery, hooks and eyes, elastic, shoe laces, sewing silk, darning cotton, pins, skirt binding, and a few small frivolities in the way of neckwear, veils, and belts--these formed Piper Tom's stock in trade. By dint of close packing, he wedged an astonishing number of things into a small space, and was not too heavily laden when, with his dog and his flute, he set forth upon the highway to establish his shop in the next place that seemed promising.

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