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And so he went on a-mumbling up stairs, and then we left. He was a mighty nice old man. And always is. He mumbled as he went back upstairs, and then we left too. He was a really nice old man. He always is.
Tom was a good deal bothered about what to do for a spoon, but he said we’d got to have it; so he took a think. When he had ciphered it out he told me how we was to do; then we went and waited around the spoon-basket till we see Aunt Sally coming, and then Tom went to counting the spoons and laying them out to one side, and I slid one of them up my sleeve, and Tom says: Tom was really concerned about getting a new spoon, but he said we needed to have one. He thought for a while. When he finally figured it out, he told me the plan. We went over to the basket where Aunt Sally kept he spoons, and waited until she came by. Then Tom started counting the spoons and laying them off to one side of the basket. I slid one of them up my sleave as Tom said:
“Why, Aunt Sally, there ain’t but nine spoons YET.” “Why, Aunt Sally—there are STILL only nine spoons.”
She says: She said:
“Go ’long to your play, and don’t bother me. I know better, I counted ’m myself.” “Go on and play. Don’t bother me. I know better, because I counted them myself.”
“Well, I’ve counted them twice, Aunty, and I can’t make but nine.” “Well, I just counted them twice, Aunty, and I only counted nine.”
She looked out of all patience, but of course she come to count—anybody would. She looked flustered and impatient, but of course she came over to count them—anyone would.
“I declare to gracious ther’ AIN’T but nine!” she says. “Why, what in the world—plague TAKE the things, I’ll count ’m again.” “I DECLARE! There ARE only nine!” she said. “What in the world? Darn it, put them back, and I’ll count them again.”
So I slipped back the one I had, and when she got done counting, she says: I slipped the spoon back into the pile, and when she finished recounting them all, she said:
“Hang the troublesome rubbage, ther’s TEN now!” and she looked huffy and bothered both. But Tom says: “What a bunch of garbage! Now there are TEN!” She looked huffy and bothered, but Tom said:
“Why, Aunty, I don’t think there’s ten.” “Why, Aunty, I don’t think there are ten.”
“You numskull, didn’t you see me COUNT ’m?” “You numbskull—didn’t you see me COUNT them?”
“I know, but—” “I know, but….”
“Well, I’ll count ’m AGAIN.” “Well, I’ll count them AGAIN.”
So I smouched one, and they come out nine, same as the other time. Well, she WAS in a tearing way—just a-trembling all over, she was so mad. But she counted and counted till she got that addled she’d start to count in the basket for a spoon sometimes; and so, three times they come out right, and three times they come out wrong. Then she grabbed up the basket and slammed it across the house and knocked the cat galley-west; and she said cle’r out and let her have some peace, and if we come bothering around her again betwixt that and dinner she’d skin us. So we had the odd spoon, and dropped it in her apron-pocket whilst she was a-giving us our sailing orders, and Jim got it all right, along with her shingle nail, before noon. We was very well satisfied with this business, and Tom allowed it was worth twice the trouble it took, because he said NOW she couldn’t ever count them spoons twice alike again to save her life; and wouldn’t believe she’d counted them right if she DID; and said that after she’d about counted her head off for the next three days he judged she’d give it up and offer to kill anybody that wanted her to ever count them any more. I secretly lifted one again, so she only counted nine this time, just as she had before. Now she WAS pretty worked up, shaking all over with anger. But she counted over and over until she got so frustrated that she started miscounting. Three times she came out with the right number and three times she counted it wrong. Then she picked up the basket and threw it across the house, where it hit the cat, dazing it. She told us to clear out and give her some peace, and that if we bothered her again between now and dinner she’d skin us alive. While she was shouting, we dropped the spoon we’d lifted in her apron pocket. Jim was able to grab it and the shingle nail before noon. We were quite pleased with ourselves for pulling this off. Tom said it was worth twice the trouble it had taken, because now she’d never be able to count those spoons again to save her life. No matter how many times she counted them, she’d never believe that she’d done it correctly. He said he figured she’d count them again and again for the next three days before she finally ging up and saying she’d kill anyone who ever asked her to count them again.
So we put the sheet back on the line that night, and stole one out of her closet; and kept on putting it back and stealing it again for a couple of days till she didn’t know how many sheets she had any more, and she didn’t CARE, and warn’t a-going to bullyrag the rest of her soul out about it, and wouldn’t count them again not to save her life; she druther die first. We put the sheet back on the clothesline that night and stole another one out of Aunt Sally’s closet. We kept putting it back and stealing it for a couple days until she didn’t know how many sheets she had any more. Eventually, she no longer CARED how many sheets she had. She didn’t want to think about it and felt she’d rather die before counting them ever again.
So we was all right now, as to the shirt and the sheet and the spoon and the candles, by the help of the calf and the rats and the mixed-up counting; and as to the candlestick, it warn’t no consequence, it would blow over by and by. With the help of the calf and the rats and the confusing countings, we were in a good position as far as the shirt, the sheet, the spoon, and the candles were concerned. As for the candlestick, it didn’t matter—that would work itself out soon.
But that pie was a job; we had no end of trouble with that pie. We fixed it up away down in the woods, and cooked it there; and we got it done at last, and very satisfactory, too; but not all in one day; and we had to use up three wash-pans full of flour before we got through, and we got burnt pretty much all over, in places, and eyes put out with the smoke; because, you see, we didn’t want nothing but a crust, and we couldn’t prop it up right, and she would always cave in. But of course we thought of the right way at last—which was to cook the ladder, too, in the pie. So then we laid in with Jim the second night, and tore up the sheet all in little strings and twisted them together, and long before daylight we had a lovely rope that you could a hung a person with. We let on it took nine months to make it. But preparing that witch pie took considerable work. There was no end to our troubles with that pie. We prepared it and cooked it at a spot deep in the woods. We finished it just the way we planned, though not all in one day. We had to use three pans full of flour by the end of it, and we burned ourselves all over and got smoke in our eyes. You see, all we wanted was a pie crust, but we couldn’t keep an empty crust from collapsing and caving in at the middle. Of course, we finally figured out how to do it—we just had to cook a ladder in the pie. We visited Jim again on the second night, and tore the sheet into little strips. We twisted the strips together and, well before daylight, we had a lovely rope that you could hang a person with. We pretended that had taken us nine months to make.