with his hair as stiff as his father’s

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They fished with a spade, at first. Presently the honoured parentappeared to be adjusting some instrument like a great corkscrew.Whatever tools they worked with, they worked hard, until the awfulstriking of the church clock so terrified Young Jerry, that he madeoff nu skin.

But, his long-cherished desire to know more about these matters, notonly stopped him in his running away, but lured him back again. Theywere still fishing perseveringly, when he peeped in at the gate forthe second time; but, now they seemed to have got a bite. There wasa screwing and complaining sound down below, and their bent figureswere strained, as if by a weight. By slow degrees the weight brokeaway the earth upon it, and came to the surface. Young Jerry very wellknew what it would be; but, when he saw it, and saw his honouredparent about to wrench it open, he was so frightened, being new to thesight, that he made off again, and never stopped until he had run amile or more nu skin hk.

He would not have stopped then, for anything less necessary thanbreath, it being a spectral sort of race that he ran, and one highlydesirable to get to the end of. He had a strong idea that the coffinhe had seen was running after him; and, pictured as hopping onbehind him, bolt upright, upon its narrow end, always on the pointof overtaking him and hopping on at his side- perhaps taking hisarm- it was a pursuer to shun. It was an inconsistent and ubiquitousfiend too, for, while it was making the whole night behind himdreadful, he darted out into the roadway to avoid dark alleys, fearfulof its coming hopping out of them like a dropsical boy’s-Kitewithout tail and wings. It hid in doorways too, rubbing its horribleshoulders against doors, and drawing them up to its ears, as if itwere laughing. It got into shadows on the road, and lay cunningly onits back to trip him up. All this time it was incessantly hopping onbehind and gaining on him, so that when the boy got to his own door hehad reason for being half dead. And even then it would not leavehim, but followed him upstairs with a bump on every stair, scrambledinto bed with him, and bumped down, dead and heavy, on his breast whenhe fell asleep.

From his oppressed slumber, Young Jerry in his closet was awakenedafter daybreak and before sunrise, by the presence of his father inthe family room. Something had gone wrong with him; at least, so YoungJerry inferred, from the circumstance of his holding Mrs. Cruncherby the ears, and knocking the back of her head against thehead-board of the bed.

“Is it being a good wife to oppose your husband’s business? Is ithonouring your husband to dishonour his business? Is it obeying yourhusband to disobey him on the vital subject of his business?”

“You hadn’t taken to the dreadful business then, Jerry  nu skin.”

“It’s enough for you,” retorted Mr. Cruncher, “to be the wife of ahonest tradesman, and not to occupy your female mind with calculationswhen he took to his trade or when he didn’t. A honouring and obeyingwife would let his trade alone altogether. Call yourself a religiouswoman? If you’re a religious woman, give me a irreligious one! Youhave no more nat’ral sense of duty than the bed of this here Thamesriver has of a pile, and similarly it must be knocked into you.”

The altercation was conducted in a low tone of voice, and terminatedin the honest tradesman’s kicking off his clay-soiled boots, and lyingdown at his length on the floor. After taking a timid peep at himlying on his back, with his rusty hands under his head for a pillow,his son lay down too, and fell asleep again.

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