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174             UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
placed it over the stove, where it was soon purring and steaming, a sort of censer of hospitality and good cheer. The peaches, moreover, in obedience to a few gentle whispers from Rachel, were soon deposited, by the same hand, in a stewpan over the fire.
Rachel now took down a snowy moulding-board, and, tying on an apron, proceeded quietly to making up some biscuits, first saying to Mary, " Mary, had n't thee better tell John to get a chicken ready ? " and Mary disappeared accordingly.
" And how is Abigail Peters ?" said Rachel, as she went on with her biscuits.
"Oh, she's better," said Ruth; "I was in, this morn­ing, made the bed, tidied up the house. Leah Hills went in, this afternoon, and baked bread and pies enough to last some days; and I engaged to go back to get her up, this evening."
" I will go in to-morrow, and do any cleaning there may be, and look over the mending," said Rachel.
" Ah! that is well," said Ruth. "I 've heard," she added, "that Hannah Stanwood is sick. John was up there last night, — I must go there to-morrow."
" John can come in here to his meals, if thee needs to stay all day," suggested Rachel.
" Thank thee, Rachel; will see, to-morrow; but, here comes Simeon."
Simeon Halliday, a tall, straight, muscular man, in drab coat and pantaloons, and broad-brimmed hat, now entered.
" How is thee, Ruth ? " he said, warmly, as he spread his broad open hand for her little fat palm; "and how is John ? "
" Oh, John is well, and all the rest of our folks," said Ruth, cheerily.
" Any news, father ? " said Rachel, as she was putting her biscuits into the oven.
" Peter Stebbins told me that they should be along to­night, with, friends," said Simeon, significantly, as he was washing his hands at a neat sink, in a little back porch.