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CHAPTER 25: Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves (continued)
"What can I do for you this evening, Mr. Cuthbert?" Miss Lucilla Harris inquired, briskly and ingratiatingly, tapping the counter with both hands.
"Have you any--any--any--well now, say any garden rakes?" stammered Matthew.
Miss Harris looked somewhat surprised, as well she might, to hear a man inquiring for garden rakes in the middle of December.
"I believe we have one or two left over," she said, "but they're upstairs in the lumber room. I'll go and see." During her absence Matthew collected his scattered senses for another effort.
When Miss Harris returned with the rake and cheerfully inquired: "Anything else tonight, Mr. Cuthbert?" Matthew took his courage in both hands and replied: "Well now, since you suggest it, I might as well--take--that is--look at--buy some--some hayseed."
Miss Harris had heard Matthew Cuthbert called odd. She now concluded that he was entirely crazy.
"We only keep hayseed in the spring," she explained loftily. "We've none on hand just now."
"Oh, certainly--certainly--just as you say," stammered unhappy Matthew, seizing the rake and making for the door. At the threshold he recollected that he had not paid for it and he turned miserably back. While Miss Harris was counting out his change he rallied his powers for a final desperate attempt.
"Well now--if it isn't too much trouble--I might as well--that is--I'd like to look at--at--some sugar."
"White or brown?" queried Miss Harris patiently.
"Oh--well now--brown," said Matthew feebly.
"There's a barrel of it over there," said Miss Harris, shaking her bangles at it. "It's the only kind we have."
"I'll--I'll take twenty pounds of it," said Matthew, with beads of perspiration standing on his forehead.
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