A Spinner in the Sun (Chapter 9, page 2 of 7)

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Chapter 9

"I'm not hungry," returned Miss Evelina, timidly.

"Well," answered Miss Mehitable, her perception having acted in the interval, "I don't wonder you ain't, with all this racket goin' on. I'll be out of here in a minute and then you can set here, nice and quiet, and eat. I never like to eat when there's anything else going on around me. It drives me crazy."

True to her word, she soon ascended the stairs, where the quaking Araminta awaited her. "It'll take some time for the water to heat," observed Miss Hitty, "but there's plenty to do before we get to scrubbing. Remember what I've told you, Minty. The first step in cleaning a room is to take out of it everything that ain't nailed to it."

Every window was opened to its highest point. Some were difficult to move, but with the aid of Araminta's strong young arms, they eventually went up as desired. From the windows descended torrents of bedding, rugs, and curtains, a veritable dust storm being raised in the process.

"When I go down after the hot water, I'll hang these things on the line," said Miss Mehitable, briskly. "They can't get any dustier on the ground than they are now."

The curtains were so frail that they fell apart in Miss Hitty's hands. "You can make her some new ones, Minty," she said. "She can get some muslin at Mis' Allen's, and you can sew on curtains for a while instead of quilts. It'll be a change."

None too carefully, Miss Mehitable tore up the rag carpet and threw it out of the window, sneezing violently. "There's considerable less dirt here already than there was when we come," she continued, "though we ain't done any real cleaning yet. She can't never put that carpet down again, it's too weak. We'll get a bucket of paint and paint the floors. I guess Sarah Grey had plenty of rugs. She's got a lot of rag carpeting put away in the attic if the moths ain't ate it, and, now that I think of it, I believe she packed it into the cedar chest. Anyway I advised her to. 'It'll come handy,' I told her, 'for Evelina, if you don't live to use it yourself.' So if the moths ain't got the good of it, there's carpet that can be made into rugs with some fringe on the ends. I always did like the smell of fresh paint, anyhow. There's nothin' you can put into a house that'll make it smell as fresh and clean as paint. Varnish is good, too, but it's more expensive. I'll go down now, and get the hot water and the ladder. I reckon she's through with her breakfast by this time."

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