Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 5.djvu/168

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"My shovel explained my mission, and she beckoned with an imperious wave of her duster to the shabby man opposite. I ploughed across, and received in silence the order to—

"'Clear them steps and sidewalk, and sweep 'em nice, for our folks always go to church, rain or shine.'

"Then leaving her broom outside, the maid slammed the door with a shiver, and I fell to work manfully. It was a heavy job, and my hands, unused to any heavier tool than a pen, were soon blistered; but I tugged away, and presently found myself much stimulated by the critical and approving glances bestowed upon me by the pretty girl, taking breakfast in the basement with a buxom cook and a friend, who had evidently dropped in on her way home from early Mass.

"I was a young fellow, and in spite of my late despair, the fun of the thing tickled me immensely, and I laughed behind my old tippet, as I shovelled and swept with a vigor that caused the stout cook to smile upon me.

"When the job was done, and I went to the lower door for my well-earned pay, the maid said,