272 WHICH WAS THE FOOLISHEST ?
patted and pinned and fixed and joined, and then, turning to the man, she said:
' Now it is ready for you to try on.' And she made him take off his coat, and stand up in front of her, and once more she patted and pinned and fixed and joined, and was very careful in smoothing out every wrinkle.
' It does not feel very warm,' observed the man at last, when he had borne all this patiently for a long time.
' That is because it is so fine,' answered she ; ' you do not want it to be as thick as the rough clothes you wear every day.'
He did, but was ashamed to say so, and only answered : ' Well, I am sure it must be beautiful since you say so, and I shall be smarter than anyone in the whole village. " What a splendid coat! " they will exclaim when they see me. But it is not everybody who has a wife as clever as mine.'
Meanwhile the other wife was not idle. As soon as her husband entered she looked at him with such a look of terror that the poor man was quite frightened.
' Why do you stare at me so ? Is there anything the matter ? ' asked he.
' Oh ! go to bed at once,' she cried ; ' you must be very ill indeed to look like that! '
The man was rather surprised at first, as he felt particularly well that evening; but the moment his wife spoke he became quite certain that he had something dreadful the matter with him, and grew quite pale.
' I dare say it would be the best place for me,' he answered, trembling ; and he suffered his wife to take him upstairs, and to help him off with his clothes.
' If you sleep well during the night there may be a chance for you,' said she, shaking her head, as she tucked
him up warmly ; ' but if not-----' And of course the
poor man never closed an eye till the sun rose.
' How do you feel this morning ? ' asked the woman, coming in on tip-toe when her house-work was finished.