A Spinner in the Sun (Chapter 8, page 2 of 7)

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Chapter 8

When the weather permitted, the shop was often left to keep itself, the door being hospitably propped open with a brick, while the dog and his master went gypsying. With a ragged, well-worn book in one pocket, a parcel of bread and cheese in another, and his flute slung over his shoulder, the Piper was prepared to spend the day abroad. He carried, too, a bone for the dog, well wrapped in newspaper, and an old silver cup to drink from.

Having finished his breakfast, the dog scampered about eagerly, indicating, by many leaps and barks, that it was time to travel, but the Piper raised his hand.

"Not to-day, Laddie," he said. "If we travel to-day, we'll not be going far. Have you forgotten that 't was only day before yesterday we found our work? Come here."

The dog seated himself before the Piper, his stubby tail wagging impatiently.

"She's a poor soul, Laddie," sighed the Piper, at length. "I'm thinking she's seen Sorrow face to face and has never had the courage to turn away. She was walking in the woods, trying to find the strange music, and was disappointed when she saw 't was only us. We must make her glad 't was us."

After a long time, the Piper spoke again, with a lingering tenderness. "She must be very beautiful, I'm thinking, Laddie; else she would not hide her face. Very beautiful and very sad."

When the sun was high, Piper Tom climbed the hill, followed by his faithful dog. On his shoulder he bore a scythe and under the other arm was a spade. He entered Miss Evelina's gate without ceremony and made a wry face as he looked about him. He scarcely knew where to begin.

The sound of the wide, even strokes roused Miss Evelina from her lethargy, and she went to the window, veiled. At first she was frightened when she saw the queer man whom she had met in the woods hard at work in her garden.

The red feather in his hat bobbed cheerfully up and down, the little yellow dog ran about busily, and the Piper was whistling lustily an old, half-forgotten tune.

She watched him for some time, then a new thought frightened her again. She had no money with which to pay him for clearing out her garden, and he would undoubtedly expect payment. She must go out and tell him not to work any more; that she did not wish to have the weeds removed.

Cringing before the necessity, she went out. The Piper did not see her until she was very near him, then, startled in his turn, he said, "Oh!" and took off his hat.

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