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7. CHAPTER VII (continued)
"You know I haven't got the money to pay for a girl, Zeena. You'll have to send her back: I can't do it."
"The doctor says it'll be my death if I go on slaving the way I've had to. He doesn't understand how I've stood it as long as I have."
"Slaving!-" He checked himself again, "You sha'n't lift a hand, if he says so. I'll do everything round the house myself-"
She broke in: "You're neglecting the farm enough already," and this being true, he found no answer, and left her time to add ironically: "Better send me over to the almshouse and done with it... I guess there's been Fromes there afore now."
The taunt burned into him, but he let it pass. "I haven't got the money. That settles it."
There was a moment's pause in the struggle, as though the combatants were testing their weapons. Then Zeena said in a level voice: "I thought you were to get fifty dollars from Andrew Hale for that lumber."
"Andrew Hale never pays under three months." He had hardly spoken when he remembered the excuse he had made for not accompanying his wife to the station the day before; and the blood rose to his frowning brows.
"Why, you told me yesterday you'd fixed it up with him to pay cash down. You said that was why you couldn't drive me over to the Flats."
Ethan had no suppleness in deceiving. He had never before been convicted of a lie, and all the resources of evasion failed him. "I guess that was a misunderstanding," he stammered.
"You ain't got the money?"
"And you ain't going to get it?"
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