Abijah's Bubble by Francis Hopkinson Smith Page 1 of 20
Ezekiel Todd, her dry, tight-fisted, lean father, had named her, bawling it out so loud that the more suitable, certainly the more euphonious, "Evangeline," proffered in a timid whisper by her faded and somewhat romantic mother, was completely smothered.
"I baptize thee, Evang-" began the minister, when Ezekiel's voice rose clear:
"Abijah, I tell ye, Parson-A-b-i-j-a-h-Abijah!" And Abijah it was.
The women were furious.
"Jes' like Zeke Todd. He's too ornery to live. I come mighty near speakin' right out, and hadn't been that Martha held on to me I would. Call her Abbie, for short, Mrs. Todd," exclaimed Deacon Libby's wife, "and shame him."
Abbie never minded it. She was too little to remember, she always said, and there were few people in the village of Taylorsville present at the christening who did.
Old Si Spavey, however, never forgot. "You kin call yourself Abbie if you choose," he used to say, "and 'tain't none o' my business, but I was in the meetin'-house and heard Zeke let drive, and b'gosh it sounded just like a buzz-saw strikin' the butt-end of a log. 'Abijah! Abijah! he hollered. Shet Parson Simmons up same's a steel trap.
Gosh, but it was funny!"
Only twice since the christening had she to face the consequences of her father's ill temper. This was after his death, when the needs of the poor mother made a small mortgage imperative and she must sign as a witness. It came with a certain shock, but there was no help for it, and she went through the ordeal bravely, dotting the "i" and giving a little flourish to the tail of the "h".
The second time was when she signed her application for the position of postmistress of the village. The big mill-owner, Hiram Taylor, brought her the paper.