Tabitha went up and down all over the house, mewing for Tom Kitten.
Tabitha became more and more distracted, and mewed dreadfully
Tabitha came downstairs mewing dreadfully--"Come in, Cousin Ribby, come in, and sit ye down!
"He's a bad kitten, Cousin Tabitha; he made a cat's cradle of my best bonnet last time I came to tea.
Ribby and Tabitha set to work to search the house thoroughly again.
"Yes, it is infested with rats," said Tabitha tearfully, "I caught seven young ones out of one hole in the back kitchen, and we had them for dinner last Saturday.
Tabitha Porter was an old maid, upwards of sixty years of age, fifty-five of which she had sat in that same chimney-corner, such being the length of time since Peter's grandfather had taken her from the almshouse.
"I should like it pretty much such a room as this kitchen," answered Tabitha. "It will never be like home to me till the chimney-corner gets as black with smoke as this; and that won't be these hundred years.
Tabitha well understood that Peter had reference to an immense hoard of the precious metals, which was said to exist somewhere in the cellar or walls, or under the floors, or in some concealed closet, or other out-of-the-way nook of the house.
Nay, in the exuberance of his feelings, he seized both of Tabitha's hands, and danced the old lady across the floor, till the oddity of her rheumatic motions set him into a roar of laughter, which was echoed back from the rooms and chambers, as if Peter Goldthwaite were laughing in every one.
Peter," said Tabitha, puffing and panting with her late gymnastics, "as fast as you tear the house down, I'll make a fire with the pieces."
"We shall get our winter's wood cheap," quoth Tabitha.