Pastkeepers in a Small Place

The Little Brown House on The Albany Road

a mug of hot flip and a bountiful dinner with Landlord Saxton, the despoiled stranger could go on his way rejoicing, having obtained all these things without money, although not without price. In those days credit was universally given and was rarely abused.

Come back again to the little cottage where, by the great window in the east end of the kitchen, David Saxton hammered the oak tanned soles, and with well-waxed home-spun thread closed the seams of honest upper leather, with honest toil and good judgment. Concerning this latter quality there is a story told characteristic of the man and bringing him a little nearer to us.

The shoemaker was so often called upon to act as referee, arbitrator, appraiser, etc., that he must be pardoned if he became a little vain of his reputation. He thoroughly enjoyed these labors and honors; a little grumbling at the burden he might have thought increased his importance. One day, while at work on his bench, he was called upon by a neighbor to act as a referee on some question in dispute. Springing up suddenly, letting his lap-stone and hammer tumble to the floor, he exclaimed, while whisking off his leather apron with alacrity: "What a cussed thing it is to be a man of judgment!" Nevertheless, this son of Crispin went his way to exercise this judgment for the benefit of his fellows with real content.

Assuming kitchen, dining room and shop to be one, while the husband and father hammered and pegged and sewed, and sewed and hammered and pegged, month after month and year after year, his good wife, Bathsheba, was always nigh. Here she baked, and here she brewed, washed, ironed, boiled and stewed. From his low bench by the east window one day in every week David could see the roaring red fire in the big brick oven in front of him, and could watch the fierce flames as they curled to its dome and darted their forked tongues towards him, only to be caught at its very mouth by the spirits of the air

He Hammered And Pegged And Sewed
"He Hammered And Pegged And Sewed."

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This page was last updated on 11 Feb 2006