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Scene 17
Cutting the ham

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  Today was a fall-time-is-here day. I heard the men say so that were talking at the meeting of the roads . From the meeting of the roads I did hurry on. I so did in a quick way because, when I was come to the meeting of the roads, I did have remembers as how the mamma did say at morningtime there was much work to be done before even-time.
  When I was come to the house we live in , the mamma and the little girl and the baby -- they were all gone to the house of Elsie . I made a start at the works. I did feed the chickens, and there was much wood to bring in, and baby clothes to wash, and ashes to empty from the stove . These four things I did. I looked looks about to see what other works did have needs to be done. I had remembers that when the papa went away to work this morning he said he did not have time to cut the ham before he went. I have knows if he is too busy in the morning to get a thing done, it mostly don't get done when he comes home from work at night. It so does not, because he has so tired feels.
  Today I had thinks the time was come when I better help about that ham. I went out to the woodshed . I went out to the woodshed to 'tend to that ham. I had thinks I better make an early start or that ham wouldn't be cut up by evening. I piled wood high enough so I could stand on tiptoes and reach to the flour-sack the ham was tied in. But I could not get that sack down. I pulled and pulled, but it wouldn't come down. I didn't have knows what I was going to do. Pretty soon, by having concentration of my thinks, I thought of a way. I got the scissors and cut the bottom out of that sack. That ham came down right quick. It landed on its back on the woodpile. My foot slipped and I landed on top of it.
  I got up and dragged it up on the chopping block. Then I got the butcher knife from its place in the cook-table drawer. I went to work. That knife didn't seem to make moves like the moves it does make when it is in the hands of the papa . I tried to make it go down in a quick way. It went not so. I looked close looks at it. Its appears did have looks like it did have needs of a sharp pennying . I have seen the papa sharp pen it on the grindstone by the singing brook. So did I. I poured a goodly amount of water on that stone wheel. Most of the water splashed off The rest did trickle away. Then I did hold that knife to the stone wheel. And I did make tries to turn it in a quick way like I have seen the papa do. But I could not make that wheel go in quick turns. It would not so go. I made big tries for a long time.
  When I had thinks the knife did look some better, I did go again to my work. I walked three times around that ham there on the chopping-block. I so did to take looks at it to see where I better make begins. I did have thinks in under its outside where it is most big would be the proper place. I made begins. I did make the knife to go a little way. Then I made a stop to rest. Then I made the knife go some more. I made another stop to rest. I went on. Pretty soon a slice of ham landed. It fell off the chopping-block onto a stick of wood. I picked it up. I held it up to take a look at it. My, I did feel such proud feels from my toes to my curls. I had it cut in such a nice way. It had frills around it and holes in betweenójust like Elsie's crochet doily that she keeps on her best stand-table. I have knows the papa never did cut a slice of ham that way. The slices of ham he cuts - - they never do have frilly looks with holes in between. After I did hang that slice of ham on a nail by the door, I did cut another slice. It was not so wide but it had more longness and some strings on it like the little short strings on the nightcap of Jenny Strong . I had not decides yet where to hang it. It was when I was having thinks about it - - it was then I did hear a heavy step.
  I turned me all about, and there was a tramper by the woodshed door. He had not gentle looks like some trampers have. His beard did grow in the hobo way. And his appears did look like he knew not knowings of neatness. He stood there looking looks at that ham. He kept his looks on it, and he did walk right into the woodshed. He had asking if the mamma was at home. I said, "No, she is not. She is at the house of Elsie ." Then he says, "I guess I'll take this ham along with me."
  I almost lost my breathings , because I did have remembers of all the days the papa has plans to have that ham for breakfast and dinner and supper. So I just sat down on the chopping-block. I sat on the ham and I spread my blue calicoe apron out over it. I put my hand on its handle that it hangs in the woodshed by. Me and my apron covered that ham so he couldn't have seeing of it. And while I sat on the ham, I did pray God to keep it safe for the breakfasts and dinners and suppers of the papa and the mamma .
  The tramper looked queer looks at me. He came a little more near. I did pray on. And God in his goodness sent answers to my prayer in a quick way. Brave Horatius came on a run from somewhere. He made a stop at the woodshed door. He looked a look in. He gave a growl. Then he went at that tramper. He did grab him by his ragged pants. I have thinks may be his teeth did touch the ankle of the tramper, because he gave a little pain squeal and shook his leg. Then he did go in a hurry away. Brave Horatius followed after.
  I was just going to start work again on that ham, when the mamma was come home from her visit. She did soon give me a whipping and put me here under the bed. Now I have wonders what that whipping was for. I did feed the chickens and carry in the wood and do the baby's washing and empty the ashes. And more I did beside -- I cut two slices of ham with frills on them.
Chapter Day Scene Paragraph
7 11 17 98

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