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Three Feathers


And so it was. Try as he might the butler could not leave hold, nor yet keep the shutters from blowing open as he closed them. And he was angry, but could not help himself, and he did not care to tell of it and get the laugh on him, so no one knew.

Then after a bit the coachman began to notice her, and she found he had some £40 with the master, and he said she might have it if she would take him with it.

So after the laundry-maid had his money in her apron as they went merrily along, she stopt, exclaiming: "My clothes are left outside, I must run back and bring them in." "Stop for me while I go; it is a cold frost night," said William, "you'd be catching your death." So the girl waited long enough to take her feathers out and say, "By virtue of my three feathers may the clothes slash and blow about till morning, and may William not be able to take his hand from them nor yet to gather them up." And then she was away to bed and to sleep.

The coachman did not want to be every one's jest, and he said nothing. So after a bit the footman comes to her and said he: "I have been with my master for years and have saved up a good bit, and you have been three years here, and must have saved up as well. Let us put it together, and make us a home or else stay on at service as pleases you." Well, she got him to bring the savings to her as the others had, and then she pretended she was faint, and said to him: "James, I feel so queer, run down cellar for me, that's a dear, and fetch me up a drop of brandy." Now no sooner had he started than she said: "By virtue of my three feathers may there be slashing and spilling, and James not be able to pour the brandy straight nor yet to take his hand from it until morning."

And so it was. Try as he might James could not get his glass filled, and there was slashing and spilling, and right on it all, down came the master to know what it meant!

So James told him he could not make it out, but he could not get the drop of brandy the laundry-maid had asked for, and his hand would shake and spill everything, and yet come away he could not.

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