“They’re waiting for you to come home to supper,” his sister said. “There’s two of them. They came in a buggy and they asked where you were.”

“Did anybody tell them?”

“Nobody knew where you were but me. Did you get many, Nickie?”

“I got twenty-six.”

“Are they good ones?”

“Just the size they want for the dinners.”

“Oh, Nickie, I wish you wouldn’t sell them.”

“She gives me a dollar a pound,” Nick Adams said.

His sister was tanned brown and she had dark brown eyes and dark brown hair with yellow streaks in it from the sun. She and Nick loved each other and they did not love the others. They always thought of every­one else in the family as the others.

“They know about everything, Nickie,” his sister said hopelessly. “They said they were going to make an example of you and send you to the reform school.”

“They’ve only got proof on one thing,” Nick told her. “But I guess I have to go away for a while.”

“Can I go?”

“No. I’m sorry, Littless. How much money have we got?”

“Fourteen dollars and sixty-five cents. I brought it.”

“Did they say anything else?”

“No. Only that they were going to stay till you came home.”

“Our mother will get tired of feeding them.”

“She gave them lunch already.”

“What were they doing?”

“Just sitting around on the screen porch. They asked our mother for your rifle but I’d hid it in the woodshed when I saw them by the fence.”

“Were you expecting them?”

“Yes. Weren’t you?”

“I guess so. Goddam them.”

“Goddam them for me, too,” his sister said. “Aren’t I old enough to go now? I hid the rifle. I brought the money.”

“I’d worry about you,” Nick Adams told her. “I don’t even know where I’m going.”

“Sure you do.”

“If there’s two of us they’d look harder. A boy and a girl show up.”

“I’d go like a boy,” she said. “I always wanted to be a boy anyway. They couldn’t tell anything about me if my hair was cut.”

“No,” Nick Adams said. “That’s true.”

“Let’s think something out good,” she said. “Please, Nick, please. I could be lots of use and you’d be lonely without me. Wouldn’t you be?”

“I’m lonely now thinking about going away from you.”

“See? And we may have to be away for years. Who can tell? Take me, Nickie. Please take me.” She kissed him and held onto him with both her arms. Nick Adams looked at her and tried to think straight, it was difficult. But there was no choice.

“I shouldn’t take you. But then I shouldn’t have done any of it,” he said. “I’ll take you. Maybe only for a couple of days, though.”

“That’s all right,” she told him. “When you don’t want me I’ll go straight home. I’ll go home anyway if I’m a bother or a nuisance or an expense.”

“Let’s think it out,” Nick Adams told her. He looked up and down the road and up at the sky where the big high afternoon clouds were riding and at the white caps on the lake out beyond the point.

“I’ll go through the woods down to the inn beyond the point and sell her the trout,” he told his sister. “She ordered them for dinners tonight. Right now they want more trout dinners than chicken dinners. I don’t know why. The trout are in good shape. I gutted them and they’re wrapped in cheesecloth and they’ll be cool and fresh. I’ll tell her I’m in some trouble with the game wardens and that they’re looking for me and I have to get out of the country for a while. I’ll get her to give me a small skillet and some salt and pepper and some bacon and some shortening and some corn meal. I’ll get her to give me a sack to put everything in and I’ll get some dried apricots and some prunes and some tea and plenty of matches and a hatchet. But I can only get one blanket. She’ll help me because buying trout is just as bad as selling them.”

“I can get a blanket,” his sister said. “I’ll wrap it around the rifle and I’ll bring your moccasins and my moccasins and I’ll change to different overalls and a shirt and hide these so they’ll think I’m wearing them and I’ll bring soap and a comb and a pair of scissors and something to sew with and Lorna Doone and Swiss Family Robinson.”

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest