Infomotions, Inc.The Peterkin papers / Hale, Lucretia P. (Lucretia Peabody), 1820-1900

Author: Hale, Lucretia P. (Lucretia Peabody), 1820-1900
Title: The Peterkin papers
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): peterkin; elizabeth eliza; eliza; agamemnon; elizabeth; solomon john; solomon; ann maria; encyclop dia; peterkin thought; elizabeth eliza's; john; maria bromwick; john osborne; little boys; rubber boots; boys
Contributor(s): Bell, Clara, 1834-1927 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 44,901 words (really short) Grade range: 8-11 (high school) Readability score: 67 (easy)
Identifier: etext3028
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Title: The Peterkin Papers

Author: Lucretia P. Hale

Release Date:  October, 2001  [Etext #3028]
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Edition:  10

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Prepared by David Reed or

The Peterkin Papers
By Lucretia P. Hale

Mrs. Peterkin Puts Salt into Her Coffee.

To Meggie (The Daughter of The Lady From Philadelphia)
To Whom These Stories Were First Told

The Peterkin Papers
By Lucretia P. Hale

Preface to The Second Edition of The Peterkin Papers

THE first of these stories was accepted by Mr. Howard M. Ticknor
for the "Young  Folks." They were afterwards continued in
numbers of the "St. Nicholas."

A second edition is now printed, containing a new paper, which
has never before  been published, "The Peterkins at the Farm."

It may be remembered that the Peterkins originally hesitated about
publishing  their Family Papers, and were decided by referring the
matter to the lady from  Philadelphia. A little uncertain of whether
she might happen to be at  Philadelphia, they determined to write
and ask her.

Solomon John suggested a postal-card. Everybody reads a postal,
and everybody  would read it as it came along, and see its
importance, and help it on. If the  lady from Philadelphia were
away, her family and all her servants would read it,  and send it
after her, for answer.

Elizabeth Eliza thought the postal a bright idea. It would not take
so long to  write as a letter, and would not be so expensive. But
could they get the whole  subject on a postal?

Mr. Peterkin believed there could be no difficulty, there was but
one question:­ 

Shall the adventures of the Peterkin family be published?

This was decided upon, and there was room for each of the family
to sign, the  little boys contenting themselves with rough sketches
of their india-rubber  boots.

Mr. Peterkin, Agamemnon, and Solomon John took the postal-card
to the  post-office early one morning, and by the afternoon of that
very day, and all  the next day, and for many days, came streaming
in answers on postals and on  letters. Their card had been
addressed to the lady from Philadelphia, with the  number of her
street. But it must have been read by their neighbors in their own 
town post-office before leaving; it must have been read along its
way: for by  each mail came piles of postals and letters from town
after town, in answer to  the question, and all in the same tone:
"Yes, yes; publish the adventures of the  Peterkin family."

"Publish them, of course."

And in time came the answer of the lady from Philadelphia:­ 
"Yes, of course; publish them."

This is why they were published.

FARM 206 

Peterkin. It was a mistake. She had poured out a delicious cup of 
coffee, and, just as she was helping herself to cream, she found she
had put in  salt instead of sugar! It tasted bad. What should she do?
Of course she couldn't  drink the coffee; so she called in the
family, for she was sitting at a late  breakfast all alone. The family
came in; they all tasted, and looked, and  wondered what should be
done, and all sat down to think.

At last Agamemnon, who had been to college, said, " Why don't
we go over and ask  the advice of the chemist? " (For the chemist
lived over the way, and was a very  wise man.)   Mrs. Peterkin
said, "Yes," and Mr. Peterkin said, "Very well," and all the 
children said they would go too. So the little boys put on their
india-rubber  boots, and over they went.

Now the chemist was just trying to find out something which
should turn  everything it touched into gold; and he had a large
glass bottle into which he  put all kinds of gold and silver, and
many other valuable things, and melted  them all up over the fire,
till he had almost found what he wanted.  He could  turn things
into almost gold. But just now he had used up all the gold that he 
had round the house, and gold was high. He had used up his wife's
gold thimble  and his great-grandfather's gold-bowed spectacles;
and he had melted up the gold  head of his
great-great-grandfather's cane; and, just as the Peterkin family 
came in, he was down on his knees before his wife, asking her to
let him have  her wedding-ring to melt up with an the rest, because
this time he knew he  should succeed, and should be able to turn
everything into gold; and then she  could have a new wedding-ring
of diamonds, all set in emeralds and rubies and  topazes, and all
the furniture could be turned into the finest of gold.

Now his wife was just consenting when the Peterkin family burst
in. You can  imagine how mad the chemist was! He came near
throwing his crucible­that was the  name of his melting-pot­at their
heads. But he didn't. He listened as calmly as  he could to the story
of how Mrs. Peterkin had put salt in her coffee.

At first he said he couldn't do anything about it; but when
Agamemnon said they  would pay in gold if he would only go, he
packed up his bottles in a leather  case, and went back with them

 First he looked at the coffee, and then stirred it. Then he put in a
little  chlorate of potassium, and the family tried it all round; but it
tasted no  better. Then he stirred in a little bichlorate of magnesia.
But Mrs. Peterkin  didn't like that. Then he added some tartaric
acid and some hypersulphate of  lime. But no; it was no better. "I
have it!" exclaimed the chemist,­"a little  ammonia is just the
thing!" No, it wasn't the thing at all.

Then he tried, each in turn, some oxalic, cyanic, acetic,
phosphoric, chloric,  hyperchloric, sulphuric, boracic, silicic,
nitric, formic, nitrous nitric, and  carbonic acids. Mrs. Peterkin
tasted each, and said the flavor was pleasant, but  not precisely that
of coffee. So then he tried a little calcium, aluminum,  barium, and
strontium, a little clear bitumen, and a half of a third of a 
sixteenth of a grain of arsenic. This gave rather a pretty color; but
still Mrs.

Peterkin ungratefully said it tasted of anything but coffee. The
chemist was not  discouraged. He put in a little belladonna and
atropine, some granulated  hydrogen, some potash, and a very little
antimony, finishing off with a little  pure carbon. But still Mrs.
Peterkin was not satisfied.

The chemist said that all he had done ought to have taken out the
salt. The  theory remained the same, although the experiment had
failed. Perhaps a little  starch would have some effect. If not, that
was all the time he could give. He  should like to be paid, and go.
They were all much obliged to him, and willing  to give him $1.37
1/2 in gold. Gold was now 2.69 3/4, so Mr. Peterkin found in  the
newspaper. This gave Agamemnon a pretty little sum. He sat
himself down to  do it. But there was the coffee! All sat and
thought awhile, till Elizabeth  Eliza said, "Why don't we go to the
herb-woman?" Elizabeth Eliza was the only  daughter. She was
named after her two aunts,­Elizabeth, from the sister of her  father;
Eliza, from her mother's sister. Now, the herb-woman was an old
woman  who came round to sell herbs, and knew a great deal.
They all shouted with joy  at the idea of asking her, and Solomon
John and the younger children agreed to  go and find her too. The
herb-woman lived  down at the very end of the street;  so the boys
put on their india-rubber boots again, and they set off. It was a 
long walk through the village, but they came at last to the
herb-woman's house,  at the foot of a high hill. They went through
her little garden. Here she had  marigolds and hollyhocks, and old
maids and tall sunflowers, and all kinds of  sweet-smelling herbs,
so that the air was full of tansy-tea and elder-blow. Over  the porch
grew a hop-vine, and a brandy-cherry tree shaded the door, and a 
luxuriant cranberry-vine flung its delicious fruit across the
window. They went  into a small parlor, which smelt very spicy.
All around hung little bags full of  catnip, and peppermint, and all
kinds of herbs; and dried stalks hung from the  ceiling; and on the
shelves were jars of rhubarb, senna, manna, and the like.

 But there was no little old woman. She had gone up into the
woods to get some  more wild herbs, so they all thought they
would follow her,­Elizabeth Eliza,  Solomon John, and the little
boys. They had to climb up over high rocks, and in  among
huckleberry-bushes and black berry-vines. But the little boys had
their  india-rubber boots. At last they discovered the little old
woman. They knew her  by her hat. It was steeple-crowned,
without any vane. They saw her digging with  her trowel round a
sassafras bush. They told her their story,­how their mother  had put
salt in her coffee, and how the chemist had made it worse instead
of  better, and how their mother couldn't drink it, and wouldn't she
come and see  what she could do? And she said she would, and
took up her little old apron,  with pockets all round, all filled with
everlasting and pennyroyal, and went  back to her house.

 There she stopped, and stuffed her huge pockets with some of all
the kinds of  herbs. She took some tansy and peppermint, and
caraway-seed and dill, spearmint  and cloves, pennyroyal and
sweet marjoram, basil and rosemary, wild thyme and  some of the
other time,­such as you have in clocks,­sappermint and oppermint, 
catnip, valerian, and hop; indeed, there isn't a kind of herb you can
think of  that the little old woman didn't have done up in her little
paper bags, that had  all been dried in her little Dutch-oven. She
packed these all up, and then went  back with the children, taking
her stick.

Meanwhile Mrs. Peterkin was getting quite impatient for her

As soon as the little old woman came she had it set over the fire,
and began to  stir in the different herbs. First she put in a little hop
for the bitter. Mrs.

Peterkin said it tasted like hop-tea, and not at all like coffee. Then
she tried  a little flagroot and snakeroot, then some spruce gum,
and some caraway and some  dill, some rue and rosemary, some
sweet marjoram and sour, some oppermint and  sappermint, a little
spearmint and peppermint, some wild thyme, and some of the 
other tame time, some tansy and basil, and catnip and valerian, and
sassafras,  ginger, and pennyroyal. The children tasted after each
mixture, but made up  dreadful faces. Mrs. Peterkin tasted, and did
the same. The more the old woman  stirred, and the more she put
in, the worse it all seemed to taste.

 So the old woman shook her head, and muttered a few words, and
said she must  go. She believed the coffee was bewitched. She
bundled up her packets of herbs,  and took her trowel, and her
basket, and her stick, and went back to her root of  sassafras, that
she had left half in the air and half out. And all she would  take for
pay was five cents in currency.

Then the family were in despair, and all sat and thought a great
while. It was  growing late in the day, and Mrs. Peterkin hadn't had
her cup of coffee. At last  Elizabeth Eliza said, "They say that the
lady from Philadelphia, who is staying  in town, is very wise.
Suppose I go and ask her what is best to be done." To  this they all
agreed, it was a great thought, and off Elizabeth Eliza went.

 She told the lady from Philadelphia the whole story,­how her
mother had put  salt in the coffee; how the chemist had been called
in; how he tried everything  but could make it no better; and how
they went for the little old herb-woman,  and how she had tried in
vain, for her mother couldn't drink the coffee. The  lady from
Philadelphia listened very attentively, and then said, "Why doesn't 
your mother make a fresh cup of coffee?" Elizabeth Eliza started
with surprise.

Solomon John shouted with joy; so did Agamemnon, who had just
finished his sum;  so did the little boys, who had followed on.
"Why didn't we think of that?" said  Elizabeth Eliza; and they all
went back to their mother, and she had her cup of  coffee.

had a present of a piano, and she was to take lessons of the 
postmaster's daughter.

They decided to have the piano set across the window in the
parlor, and the  carters brought it in, and went away.

After they had gone the family all came in to look at the piano; but
they found  the carters had placed it with its back turned towards
the middle of the room,  standing close against the window.

 How could Elizabeth Eliza open it? How could she reach the keys
to play upon  it?

Solomon John proposed that they should open the window, which
Agamemnon could do  with his long arms. Then Elizabeth Eliza
should go round upon the piazza, and  open the piano. Then she
could have her music-stool on the piazza, and play upon  the piano

So they tried this; and they all thought it was a very pretty sight to
see  Elizabeth Eliza playing on the piano, while she sat on the
piazza, with the  honeysuckle vines behind her.

It was very pleasant, too, moonlight evenings. Mr. Peterkin liked
to take a doze  on his sofa in the room; but the rest of the family
liked to sit on the piazza.

So did Elizabeth Eliza, only she had to have her back to the moon.

All this did very well through the summer; but, when the fall
came, Mr. Peterkin  thought the air was too cold from the open
window, and the family did not want  to sit out on the piazza.

 Elizabeth Eliza practiced in the mornings with her cloak on; but
she was  obliged to give up her music in the evenings the family
shivered so.

One day, when she was talking with the lady from Philadelphia,
she spoke of this  trouble.

The lady from Philadelphia looked surprised, and then said, "But
why don't you  turn the piano round?"

One of the little boys pertly said, "It is a square piano."

But Elizabeth Eliza went home directly, and, with the help of
Agamemnon and  Solomon John, turned the piano round.

"Why did we not think of that before?" said Mrs. Peterkin. "What
shall we do  when the lady from Philadelphia goes home again?"

sitting round the breakfast-table, and wondering what they should
do  because the lady from Philadelphia had gone away. "If," said
Mrs. Peterkin, "we  could only be more wise as a family!" How
could they manage it? Agamemnon had  been to college, and the
children all went to school; but still as a family they  were not
wise. "It comes from books," said one of the family. "People who
have a  great many books are very wise." Then they counted up
that there were very few  books in the house,­a few school-books
and Mrs. Peterkin's cook-book were all.

"That's the thing!" said Agamemnon. "We want a library."

 "We want a library!" said Solomon John. And all of them
exclaimed, "We want a  library!"

"Let us think how we shall get one," said Mrs. Peterkin. "I have
observed that  other people think a great deal of thinking."

So they all sat and thought a great while.

Then said Agamemnon, "I will make a library. There are some
boards in the  wood-shed, and I have a hammer and some nails ,
and perhaps we can borrow some  hinges, and there we have our

They were all very much pleased at the idea.

"That's the book-case part," said Elizabeth Eliza; "but where are
the books?"

 So they sat and thought a little while, when Solomon John
exclaimed, "I will  make a book!"

They all looked at him in wonder.

"Yes," said Solomon John, "books will make us wise, but first I
must make a  book."

So they went into the parlor, and sat down to make a book. But
there was no ink.

What should he do for ink? Elizabeth Eliza said she had heard that
nutgalls and  vinegar made very good ink. So they decided to make
some. The little boys said  they could find some nutgalls up in the
woods. So they all agreed to set out and  pick some. Mrs. Peterkins
put on her cape-bonnet, and the little boys got into  their
india-rubber boots, and off they went.

The nutgalls were hard to find. There was almost everything else
in the  woods,­chestnuts, and walnuts, and small hazel-nuts, and a
great many squirrels;  and they had to walk a great way before they
found any nutgalls. At last they  came home with a large basket
and two nutgalls in it. Then came the question of  the vinegar. Mrs.
Peterkin had used her very last on some beets they had the day 
before. "Suppose we go and ask the minister's wife," said Elizabeth
Eliza. So  they all went to the minister's wife. She said if they
wanted some good vinegar  they had better set a barrel of cider
down in the cellar, and in a year or two  it would make very nice
vinegar. But they said they wanted it that very  afternoon. When
the minister's wife heard this, she said she should be very glad  to
let them have some vinegar, and gave them a cupful to carry home.

So they stirred in the nutgalls, and by the time evening came they
had very good  ink.

 Then Solomon John wanted a pen. Agamemnon had a steel one,
but Solomon John  said, "Poets always used quills." Elizabeth
Eliza suggested that they should go  out to the poultry-yard and get
a quill. But it was already dark. They had,  however, two lanterns,
and the little boys borrowed the neighbors'. They set out  in
procession for the poultry-yard. When they got there, the fowls
were all at  roost, so they could look at them quietly.

 SOLOMON JOHN'S BOOK. But there were no geese! There were
Shanghais and Cochin-Chinas, and Guinea  hens, and Barbary
hens, and speckled hens, and Poland roosters, and bantams, and 
ducks, and turkeys, but not one goose! "No geese but ourselves,"
said Mrs.

Peterkin, wittily, as they returned to the house. The sight of this
procession  roused up the village. "A torchlight procession!" cried
all the boys of the  town; and they gathered round the house,
shouting for the flag; and Mr. Peterkin  had to invite them in, and
give them cider and gingerbread, before he could  explain to them
that it was only his family visiting his hens.

 After the crowd had dispersed, Solomon John sat down to think of
his writing  again. Agamemnon agreed to go over to the bookstore
to get a quill. They all  went over with him. The bookseller was
just shutting up his shop. However, he  agreed to go in and get a
quill, which he did, and they hurried home.

So Solomon John sat down again, but there was no paper. And
now the bookstore  was shut up. Mr. Peterkin suggested that the
mail was about in, and perhaps he  should have a letter, and then
they could use the envelope to write upon. So  they all went to the
post-office, and the little boys had their india-rubber  boots on, and
they all shouted when they found Mr. Peterkin had a letter. The 
postmaster inquired what they were shouting about; and when they
told him, he  said he would give Solomon John a whole sheet of
paper for his book. And they  all went back rejoicing.

 So Solomon John sat down, and the family all sat round the table
looking at  him. He had his pen, his ink, and his paper. He dipped
his pen into the ink and  held it over the paper, and thought a
minute, and then said, "But I haven't got  anything to say."

Mrs. Peterkin was feeling very tired, as she had been having a 
great many things to think of, and she said to Mr. Peterkin, "I
believe I shall  take a ride this morning!"

And the little boys cried out, "Oh, may we go too?"

Mrs. Peterkin said that Elizabeth Eliza and the little boys might go.

So Mr. Peterkin had the horse put into the carryall, and he and
Agamemnon went  off to their business, and Solomon John to
school; and Mrs. Peterkin began to  get ready for her ride.

She had some currants she wanted to carry to old Mrs. Twomly,
and some  gooseberries for somebody else, and Elizabeth Eliza
wanted to pick some flowers  to take to the minister's wife, so it
took them a long time to prepare.

The little boys went out to pick the currants and the gooseberries,
and  Elizabeth Eliza went out for her flowers, and Mrs. Peterkin
put on her  cape-bonnet, and in time they were all ready. The little
boys were in their  india-rubber boots, and they got into the

 Elizabeth Eliza was to drive; so she sat on the front seat, and took
up the  reins, and the horse started off merrily, and then suddenly
stopped, and would  not go any farther.

Elizabeth Eliza shook the reins, and pulled them, and then she
clucked to the  horse; and Mrs. Peterkin clucked; and the little
boys whistled and shouted; but  still the horse would not go.

"We shall have to whip him," said Elizabeth Eliza.

Now Mrs. Peterkin never liked to use the whip; but, as the horse
would not go,  she said she would get out and turn her head the
other way, while Elizabeth  Eliza whipped the horse, and when he
began to go she would hurry and get in.

So they tried this, but the horse would not stir.

"Perhaps we have too heavy a load," said Mrs. Peterkin, as she got

So they took out the currants and the gooseberries and the flowers,
but still  the horse would not go.

One of the neighbors, from the opposite house, looking out just
then, called out  to them to try the whip. There was a high wind,
and they could not hear exactly  what she said.

"I have tried the whip," said Elizabeth Eliza.

"She says 'whips,' such as you eat," said one of the little boys.

"We might make those," said Mrs. Peterkin, thoughtfully.

"We have got plenty of cream," said Elizabeth Eliza.

"Yes, let us have some whips," cried the little boys, getting out.

And the opposite neighbor cried out something about whips; and
the wind was very  high.

So they went into the kitchen, and whipped up the cream, and
made some very  delicious whips; and the little boys tasted all
round, and they all thought they  were very nice.

They carried some out to the horse, who swallowed it down very

 "That is just what he wanted," said Mrs. Peterkin; "now he will
certainly go!"

So they all got into the carriage again, and put in the currants and
the  gooseberries and the flowers; and Elizabeth Eliza shook the
reins, and they all  clucked; but still the horse would not go!

"We must either give up our ride," said Mrs. Peterkin, mournfully,
"or else send  over to the lady from Philadelphia, and see what she
will say."

The little boys jumped out as quickly as they could; they were
eager to go and  ask the lady from Philadelphia. Elizabeth Eliza
went with them, while her mother  took the reins.

 They found that the lady from Philadelphia was very ill that day,
and was in  her bed. But when she was told what the trouble was,
she very kindly said they  might draw up the curtain from the
window at the foot of the bed, and open the  blinds, and she would
see. Then she asked for her opera-glass, and looked  through it,
across the way, up the street, to Mrs. Peterkin's door.

After she had looked through the glass, she laid it down, leaned
her head back  against the pillow, for she was very tired, and then
said, "Why don't you  unchain the horse from the horse-post?"

Elizabeth Eliza and the little boys looked at one another, and then
hurried back  to the house and told their mother. The horse was
untied, and they all went to  ride.

incident occurred in the Peterkin family. This was at  dinner-time.

 They sat down to a dish of boiled ham. Now it was a peculiarity of
the children  of the family, that half of them liked fat, and half
liked lean. Mr. Peterkin  sat down to cut the ham. But the ham
turned out to be a very remarkable one. The  fat and the lean came
in separate slices,­first one of lean, than one of fat,  then two slices
of lean, and so on. Mr. Peterkin began as usual by helping the 
children first, according to their age. Now Agamemnon, who liked
lean, got a fat  slice; and Elizabeth Eliza, who preferred fat, had a
lean slice. Solomon John,  who could eat nothing but lean, was
helped to fat, and so on. Nobody had what he  could eat.

It was a rule of the Peterkin family, that no one should eat any of
the  vegetables without some of the meat; so now, although the
children saw upon  their plates apple-sauce and squash and tomato
and sweet potato and sour potato,  not one of them could eat a
mouthful, because not one was satisfied with the  meat. Mr. and
Mrs. Peterkin, however, liked both fat and lean, and were making
a  very good meal, when they looked up and saw the children all
sitting eating  nothing, and looking dissatisfied into their plates.

"What is the matter now?" said Mr. Peterkin.

But the children were taught not to speak at table. Agamemnon,
however, made a  sign of disgust at his fat, and Elizabeth Eliza at
her lean, and so on, and they  presently discovered what was the

"What shall be done now?" said Mrs. Peterkin.

They all sat and thought for a little while.

At last said Mrs. Peterkin, rather uncertainly, "Suppose we ask the
lady from  Philadelphia what is best to be done."

But Mr. Peterkin said he didn't like to go to her for everything; let
the  children try and eat their dinner as it was.

And they all tried, but they couldn't. "Very well, then." said Mr.
Peterkin,  "let them go and ask the lady from Philadelphia."

"All of us?" cried one of the little boys, in the excitement of the

 "Yes," said Mrs. Peterkin, "only put on your india-rubber boots."
And they  hurried out of the house.

The lady from Philadelphia was just going in to her dinner; but she
kindly  stopped in the entry to hear what the trouble was.
Agamemnon and Elizabeth Eliza  told her all the difficulty, and the
lady from Philadelphia said, "But why don't  you give the slices of
fat to those who like the fat, and the slices of lean to  those who
like the lean?"

They looked at one another. Agamemnon looked at Elizabeth
Eliza, and Solomon  John looked at the little boys. "Why didn't we
think of that?" said they, and  ran home to tell their mother.

was in the dumb-waiter. All had seated themselves at the 
dinner-table, and Amanda had gone to take out the dinner she had
sent up from  the kitchen on the dumb-waiter. But something was
the matter; she could not pull  it up. There was the dinner, but she
could not reach it. All the family, in  turn, went and tried; all
pulled together, in vain;the dinner could not be  stirred.

"No dinner!" exclaimed Agamemnon.

"I am quite hungry," said Solomon John.

At last Mr. Peterkin said, "I am not proud. I am willing to dine in
the  kitchen."

This room was below the dining-room. All consented to this. Each
one went down,  taking a napkin.

The cook laid the kitchen table, put on it her best table-cloth, and
the family  sat down. Amanda went to the dumb-waiter for the
dinner, but she could not move  it down.

The family were all in dismay. There was the dinner, half-way
between the  kitchen and dining-room, and there were they all
hungry to eat it!

 "What is there for dinner?" asked Mr. Peterkin.

"Roast turkey," said Mrs. Peterkin.

Mr. Peterkin lifted his eyes to the ceiling.

"Squash, tomato, potato, and sweet potato," Mrs. Peterkin

"Sweet potato!" exclaimed both the little boys.

"I am very glad now that I did not have cranberry," said Mrs.
Peterkin, anxious  to find a bright point.

"Let us sit down and think about it," said Mr. Peterkin.

"I have an idea," said Agamemnon, after a while.

"Let us hear it," said Mr. Peterkin. "Let each one speak his mind."

"The turkey," said Agamemnon, "must be just above the kitchen
door. If I had a  ladder and an axe, I could cut away the plastering
and reach it."

"That is a great idea," said Mrs. Peterkin.

"If you think you could do it," said Mr. Peterkin.

"Would it not be better to have a carpenter?" asked Elizabeth

"A carpenter might have a ladder and an axe, and I think we have
neither," said  Mrs. Peterkin.

"A carpenter! A carpenter!" exclaimed the rest.

It was decided that Mr. Peterkin, Solomon John, and the little boys
should go in  search of a carpenter.

Agamemnon proposed that, meanwhile, he should go and borrow a
book; for he had  another idea.

"This affair of the turkey," he said, "reminds me of those buried
cities that  have been dug out,­Herculaneum, for instance."

"Oh, yes," interrupted Elizabeth Eliza, "and Pompeii."

 "Yes," said Agamemnon, "they found there pots and kettles. Now,
I should like  to know how they did it; and I mean to borrow a
book and read. I think it was  done with a pickaxe."

So the party set out. But when Mr. Peterkin reached the carpenter's
shop, there  was no carpenter to be found there.

"He must be at his house, eating his dinner," suggested Solomon

"Happy man," exclaimed Mr. Peterkin, "he has a dinner to eat!"

They went to the carpenter's house, but found he had gone out of
town for a  day's job. But his wife told them that he always came
back at night to ring the  nine-o'clock bell.

"We must wait till then," said Mr. Peterkin, with an effort at

At home he found Agamemnon reading his book, and all sat down
to hear of  Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Time passed on, and the question arose about tea. Would it do to
have tea when  they had had no dinner? A part of the family
thought it would not do; the rest  wanted tea.

"I suppose you remember the wise lady of Philadelphia, who was
here not long  ago," said Mr. Peterkin.

"Oh, yes," said Mrs. Peterkin.

"Let us try to think what she would advise us," said Mr. Peterkin.

"I wish she were here," said Elizabeth Eliza.

"I think," said Mr. Peterkin, "she would say, let them that want tea
have it;  the rest can go without."

So they had tea, and, as it proved, all sat down to it. But not much
was eaten,  as there had been no dinner.

When the nine-o'clock bell was heard, Agamemnon, Solomon
John, and the little  boys rushed to the church, and found the

They asked him to bring a ladder, axes and pickaxe. As he felt it
might be a  case of fire, he brought also his fire-buckets.

When the matter was explained to him, he went into the
dining-room, looked into  the dumb-waiter, untwisted a cord, and
arranged the weight, and pulled up the  dinner.

There was a family shout.

"The trouble was in the weight," said the carpenter.

"That is why it is called a dumb-waiter," Solomon John explained
to the little  boys.

The dinner was put upon the table.

Mrs. Peterkin frugally suggested that they might now keep it for
the next day,  as to-day was almost gone, and they had had tea.

But nobody listened. All sat down to the roast turkey; and Amanda
warmed over  the vegetables.

"Patient waiters are no losers," said Agamemnon.

 THE PETERKINS' SUMMER JOURNEY.  IN fact, it was their
last summer's journey­for it had been planned then; but  there had
been so many difficulties, it had been delayed.

The first trouble had been about trunks. The family did not own a
trunk suitable  for travelling.

Agamemnon had his valise, that he had used when he stayed a
week at a time at  the academy; and a trunk had been bought for
Elizabeth Eliza when she went to  the seminary. Solomon John and
Mr. Peterkin, each had his patent-leather  hand-bag. But all these
were too small for the family. And the little boys  wanted to carry
their kite.

Mrs. Peterkin suggested her grandmother's trunk. This was a
hair-trunk, very  large and capacious. It would hold everything they
would want to carry, except  what would go in Elizabeth Eliza's
trunk, or the valise and bags.

Everybody was delighted at this idea. It was agreed that the next
day the things  should be brought into Mrs. Peterkin's room, for her
to see if they could all be  packed.

"If we can get along," said Elizabeth Eliza, "without having to ask
advice, I  shall be glad!"

"Yes," said Mr. Peterkin, "It is time now for people to be coming
to ask advice  of us."

 The next morning Mrs. Peterkin began by taking out the things
that were already  in the trunk. Here were last year's winter things,
and not only these, but old  clothes that had been put away,­Mrs.
Peterkin's wedding-dress; the skirts the  little boys used to wear
before they put on jackets and trousers.

All day Mrs. Peterkin worked over the trunk, putting away the old
things,  putting in the new. She packed up all the clothes she could
think of, both  summer and winter ones, because you never can tell
what sort of weather you will  have.

Agamemnon fetched his books, and Solomon John his spy-glass.
There were her own  and Elizabeth Eliza's best bonnets in a
bandbox; also Solomon John's hats, for  he had an old one and a
new one. He bought a new hat for fishing, with a very  wide brim
and deep crown; all of heavy straw.

Agamemnon brought down a large heavy dictionary, and an atlas
still larger. This  contained maps of all the countries in the world.

"I have never had a chance to look at them," he said; "but when
one travels,  then is the time to study geography."

 Mr. Peterkin wanted to take his turning-lathe. So Mrs. Peterkin
packed his  tool-chest. It gave her some trouble, for it came to her
just as she had packed  her summer dresses. At first she thought it
would help to smooth the dresses,  and placed it on top; but she
was forced to take all out, and set it at the  bottom. This was not so
much matter, as she had not yet the right dresses to put  in. Both
Mrs. Peterkin and Elizabeth Eliza would need new dresses for this 
occasion. The little boys' hoops went in; so did their india-rubber
boots, in  case it should not rain when they started. They each had
a hoe and shovel, and  some baskets, that were packed.

Mrs. Peterkin called in all the family on the evening of the second
day to see  how she had succeeded. Everything was packed, even
the little boys' kite lay  smoothly on the top.

"I like to see a thing so nicely done," said Mr. Peterkin.

The next thing was to cord up the trunk, and Mr. Peterkin tried to
move it. But  neither he, nor Agamemnon, nor Solomon John
could lift it alone, or all  together.

Here was a serious difficulty. Solomon John tried to make light of

"Expressmen could lift it. Expressmen were used to such things."

"But we did not plan expressing it," said Mrs. Peterkin, in a
discouraged tone.

"We can take a carriage," said Solomon John.

 "I am afraid the trunk would not go on the back of a carriage,"
said Mrs.


"The hackman could not lift it, either," said Mr. Peterkin.

"People do travel with a great deal of baggage," said Elizabeth

"And with very large trunks," said Agamemnon.

"Still they are trunks that can be moved," said Mr. Peterkin, giving
another try  at the trunk in vain. "I am afraid we must give it up,"
he said; "it would be  such a trouble in going from place to place."

"We would not mind if we got it to the place," said Elizabeth

"But how to get it there?" Mr. Peterkin asked, with a sigh.

"This is our first obstacle," said Agamemnon; "we must do our
best to conquer  it."

"What is an obstacle?" asked the little boys.

"It is the trunk," said Solomon John.

"Suppose we look out the word in the dictionary," said
Agamemnon, taking the  large volume from the trunk. "Ah, here it
is­" And he read:­  "OBSTACLE, an impediment."

"That is a worse word than the other," said one of the little boys.

"But listen to this," and Agamemnon continued: "Impediment is
something that  entangles the feet; obstacle, something that stands
in the way; obstruction,  something that blocks up the passage;
hinderance, something that holds back."

"The trunk is all these," said Mr. Peterkin, gloomily.

"It does not entangle the feet," said Solomon John, "for it can't

"I wish it could," said the little boys together.

Mrs. Peterkin spent a day or two in taking the things out of the
trunk and  putting them away.

"At least," she said, "this has given me some experience in

And the little boys felt as if they had quite been a journey.

But the family did not like to give up their plan. It was suggested
that they  might take the things out of the trunk, and pack it at the
station; the little  boys could go and come with the things. But
Elizabeth Eliza thought the place  too public.

Gradually the old contents of the great trunk went back again to it.

At length a friend unexpectedly offered to lend Mr. Peterkin a
good-sized family  trunk. But it was late in the season, and so the
journey was put off from that  summer.

But now the trunk was sent round to the house, and a family
consultation was  held about packing it. Many things would have
to be left at home, it was so much  smaller than the grandmother's
hair-trunk. But Agamemnon had been studying the  atlas through
the winter, and felt familiar with the more important places, so  it
would not be necessary to take it. And Mr. Peterkin decided to
leave his  turning-lathe at home, and his tool-chest.

Again Mrs. Peterkin spent two days in accommodating the things.
With great care  and discretion, and by borrowing two more
leather bags, it could be  accomplished. Everything of importance
could be packed, except the little boys'  kite. What should they do
about that?

The little boys proposed carrying it in their hands; but Solomon
John and  Elizabeth Eliza would not consent to this.

"I do think it is one of the cases where we might ask the advice of
the lady  from Philadelphia," said Mrs. Peterkin, at last.

"She has come on here," said Agamemnon, "and we have not been
to see her this  summer."

"She may think we have been neglecting her," suggested Mr.

The little boys begged to be allowed to go and ask her opinion
about the kite.

They came back in high spirits.

"She says we might leave this one at home, and make a new kite
when we get  there," they cried.

"What a sensible idea!" exclaimed Mr. Peterkin; "and I may have
leisure to help  you."

"We'll take plenty of newspapers," said Solomon John.

"And twine," said the little boys. And this matter was settled.

The question then was, "When should they go?"

morning to find a heavy snow-storm raging. The wind had  flung
the snow against the windows, had heaped it up around the house,
and  thrown it into huge white drifts over the fields, covering
hedges and fences.

Mrs. Peterkin went from one window to the other to look out; but
nothing could  be seen but the driving storm and the deep white
snow. Even Mr. Bromwick's  house, on the opposite side of the
street, was hidden by the swift-falling  flakes.

 "What shall I do about it?" thought Mrs. Peterkin. "No roads
cleared out! Of  course there'll be no butcher and no milkman !"

The first thing to be done was to wake up all the family early; for
there was  enough in the house for breakfast, and there was no
knowing when they would have  anything more to eat.

It was best to secure the breakfast first.

 So she went from one room to the other, as soon as it was light,
waking the  family, and before long all were dressed and

And then all went round the house to see what had happened.

All the water-pipes that there were were frozen. The milk was
frozen. They could  open the door into the wood-house; but the
wood-house door into the yard was  banked up with snow; and the
front door, and the piazza door, and the side door  stuck. Nobody
could get in or out!

 Meanwhile, Amanda, the cook, had succeeded in making the
kitchen fire, but had  discovered there was no furnace coal.

"The furnace coal was to have come to-day," said Mrs. Peterkin,

"Nothing will come to-day," said Mr. Peterkin, shivering.

But a fire could be made in a stove in the dining-room.

 All were glad to sit down to breakfast and hot coffee. The little
boys were  much pleased to have "ice-cream" for breakfast.

"When we get a little warm," said Mr. Peterkin, "we will consider
what is to be  done."

"I am thankful I ordered the sausages yesterday," said Mrs.
Peterkin. "I was to  have had a leg of mutton to-day."

"Nothing will come to-day," said Agamemnon, gloomily.

"Are these sausages the last meat in the house?" asked Mr.

"Yes," said Mrs. Peterkin.

The potatoes also were gone, the barrel of apples empty, and she
had meant to  order more flour that very day.

"Then we are eating our last provisions," said Solomon John,
helping himself to  another sausage.

"I almost wish we had stayed in bed," said Agamemnon.

"I thought it best to make sure of our breakfast first," repeated Mrs.

 "Shall we literally have nothing left to eat?" asked Mr. Peterkin.

"There's the pig!" suggested Solomon John.

Yes, happily, the pigsty was at the end of the wood-house, and
could be reached  under cover.

But some of the family could not eat fresh pork.

"We should have to 'corn' part of him," said Agamemnon.

"My butcher has always told me," said Mrs. Peterkin, "that if I
wanted a ham I  must keep a pig. Now we have the pig, but have
not the ham!"

"Perhaps we could 'corn' one or two of his legs," suggested one of
the little  boys.

 "We need not settle that now," said Mr. Peterkin. "At least the pig
will keep  us from starving."

The little boys looked serious; they were fond of their pig.

"If we had only decided to keep a cow," said Mrs. Peterkin.

"Alas! yes," said Mr. Peterkin, "one learns a great many things too

"Then we might have had ice-cream all the time!" exclaimed the
little boys.

Indeed, the little boys, in spite of the prospect of starving, were
quite  pleasantly excited at the idea of being snowed-up, and
hurried through their  breakfasts that they might go and try to
shovel out a path from one of the  doors.

"I ought to know more about the water-pipes," said Mr. Peterkin.
"Now, I shut  off the water last night in the bath-room, or else I
forgot to; and I ought to  have shut it off in the cellar."

The little boys came back. Such a wind at the front door, they were
going to try  the side door.

"Another thing I have learned to-day," said Mr. Peterkin, "is not to
have all  the doors on one side of the house, because the storm
blows the snow against all  the doors."

Solomon John started up.

"Let us see if we are blocked up on the east side of the house!" he

"Of what use," asked Mr. Peterkin, "since we have no door on the
east side?"

"We could cut one," said Solomon John.

"Yes, we could cut a door," exclaimed Agamemnon.

"But how can we tell whether there is any snow there?" asked
Elizabeth  Eliza,­"for there is no window."

In fact, the east side of the Peterkins' house formed a blank wall.
The owner  had originally planned a little block of semi-detached
houses. He had completed  only one, very semi and very detached.

"It is not necessary to see," said Agamemnon, profoundly; "of
course, if the  storm blows against this side of the house, the house
itself must keep the snow  from the other side."

 "Yes," said Solomon John, "there must be a space clear of snow
on the east side  of the house, and if we could open a way to that "­ 
"We could open a way to the butcher," said Mr. Peterkin,

Agamemnon went for his pick-axe. He had kept one in the house
ever since the  adventure of the dumb-waiter.

"What part of the wall had we better attack?" asked Mr. Peterkin.

Mrs. Peterkin was alarmed.

"What will Mr. Mudge, the owner of the house, think of it?" she
exclaimed. "Have  we a right to injure the wall of the house?"

"It is right to preserve ourselves from starving," said Mr. Peterkin.
"The  drowning man must snatch at a straw!"

 "It is better that he should find his house chopped a little when the
thaw  comes," said Elizabeth Eliza, "than that he should find us
lying about the  house, dead of hunger, upon the floor."

Mrs. Peterkin was partially convinced.

The little boys came in to warm their hands. They had not
succeeded in opening  the side door, and were planning trying to
open the door from the wood-house to  the garden.

"That would be of no use," said Mrs. Peterkin, "the butcher cannot
get into the  garden."

 "But we might shovel off the snow," suggested one of the little
boys, "and dig  down to some of last year's onions."

Meanwhile, Mr. Peterkin, Agamemnon, and Solomon John had
been bringing together  their carpenter's tools, and Elizabeth Eliza
proposed using a gouge, if they  would choose the right spot to

The little boys were delighted with the plan, and hastened to
find,­one, a  little hatchet, and the other a gimlet. Even Amanda
armed herself with a poker.

 "It would be better to begin on the ground floor," said Mr.

"Except that we may meet with a stone foundation," said Solomon

"If the wall is thinner upstairs," said Agamemnon, "it will do as
well to cut a  window as a door, and haul up anything the butcher
may bring below in his cart."

  Everybody began to pound a little on the wall to find a favorable
place, and  there was a great deal of noise. The little boys actually
cut a bit out of the  plastering with their hatchet and gimlet.
Solomon John confided to Elizabeth  Eliza that it reminded him of
stories of prisoners who cut themselves free,  through stone walls,
after days and days of secret labor.

 Mrs. Peterkin, even, had come with a pair of tongs in her hand.
She was  interrupted by a voice behind her.

"Here's your leg of mutton, marm!"

It was the butcher. How had he got in?

"Excuse me, marm, for coming in at the side door, but the back
gate is kinder  blocked up. You were making such a pounding I
could not make anybody hear me  knock at the side door."

"But how did you make a path to the door?" asked Mr. Peterkin.
"You must have  been working at it a long time. It must be near
noon now."

 "I'm about on regular time," answered the butcher. "The town
team has cleared  out the high road, and the wind has been down
the last half-hour. The storm is  over."

True enough! The Peterkins had been so busy inside the house they
had not  noticed the ceasing of the storm outside.

"And we were all up an hour earlier than usual," said Mr. Peterkin,
when the  butcher left. He had not explained to the butcher why he
had a pickaxe in his  hand.

"If we had lain abed till the usual time," said Solomon John, "we
should have  been all right."

"For here is the milkman!" said Elizabeth Eliza, as a knock was
now heard at the  side door.

"It is a good thing to learn," said Mr. Peterkin, "not to get up any
earlier  than is necessary."

were fond of drinking milk, nor that they drank very much. But 
for that reason Mr. Peterkin thought it would be well to have a
cow, to  encourage the family to drink more, as he felt it would be
so healthy.

Mrs. Peterkin recalled the troubles of the last cold winter, and how
near they  came to starving, when they were shut up in a severe
snow-storm, and the  water-pipes burst, and the milk was frozen. If
the cow-shed could open out of  the wood-shed, such trouble might
be prevented.

Tony Larkin was to come over and milk the cow every morning,
and Agamemnon and  Solomon John agreed to learn how to milk,
in case Tony should be "snowed up," or  have the whooping-cough
in the course of the winter. The little boys thought  they knew how

But if they were to have three or four pailfuls of milk every day, it
was  important to know where to keep it.

"One way will be," said Mrs. Peterkin, "to use a great deal every
day. We will  make butter."

"That will be admirable," thought Mr. Peterkin.

"And custards," suggested Solomon John.

"And syllabub," said Elizabeth Eliza.

"And cocoa-nut cakes," exclaimed the little boys.

"We don't need the milk for cocoa-nut cakes," said Mrs. Peterkin.

 The little boys thought they might have a cocoa-nut tree instead of
a cow. You  could have the milk from the cocoa-nuts, and it would
be pleasant climbing the  tree, and you would not have to feed it.

"Yes," said Mr. Peterkin, "we shall have to feed the cow."

"Where shall we pasture her?" asked Agamemnon.

"Up on the hills, up on the hills," exclaimed the little boys, "where
there are  a great many bars to take down, and huckleberry-bushes!

Mr. Peterkin had been thinking of their own little lot behind the

"But I don't know," he said, "but the cow might eat off all the grass
in one  day, and there would not be any left for to-morrow, unless
the grass grew fast  enough every night."

Agamemnon said it would depend upon the season. In a rainy
season the grass  would come up very fast, in a drought it might
not grow at all.

"I suppose," said Mrs. Peterkin, "that is the worst of having a
cow,­there might  be a drought."

Mr. Peterkin thought they might make some calculation from the
quantity of grass  in the lot.

Solomon John suggested that measurements might be made by
seeing how much grass  the Bromwicks' cow, opposite them, eat
up in a day.

 The little boys agreed to go over and spend the day on the
Bromwicks' fence,  and take an observation.

"The trouble would be," said Elizabeth Eliza, "that cows walk
about so, and the  Bromwicks' yard is very large. Now she would
be eating in one place, and then  she would walk to another. She
would not be eating all the time, a part of the  time she would be

The little boys thought they should like nothing better than to have
some  sticks, and keep the cow in one corner of the yard till the
calculations were  made.

But Elizabeth Eliza was afraid the Bromwicks would not like it.

"Of course, it would bring all the boys in the school about the
place, and very  likely they would make the cow angry."

Agamemnon recalled that Mr. Bromwick once wanted to hire Mr.
Peterkin's lot for  his cow.

Mr. Peterkin started up.

"That is true; and of course Mr. Bromwick must have known there
was feed enough  for one cow."

"And the reason you didn't let him have it," said Solomon John,
"was that  Elizabeth Eliza was afraid of cows."

 "I did not like the idea," said Elizabeth Eliza, "of their cow's
looking at me  over the top of the fence, perhaps, when I should be
planting the sweet peas in  the garden. I hope our cow would be a
quiet one. I should not like her jumping  over the fence into the

Mr. Peterkin declared that he should buy a cow of the quietest

"I should think something might be done about covering her
horns," said Mrs.

Peterkin; "that seems the most dangerous part. Perhaps they might
be padded with  cotton."

Elizabeth Eliza said cows were built so large and clumsy, that if
they came at  you they could not help knocking you over.

The little boys would prefer having the pasture a great way off.
Half the fun of  having a cow would be going up on the hills after

Agamemnon thought the feed was not so good on the hills.

 "The cow would like it ever so much better," the little boys
declared, "on  account of the variety. If she did not like the rocks
and the bushes, she could  walk round and find the grassy places."

"I am not sure," said Elizabeth Eliza, "but it would be less
dangerous to keep  the cow in the lot behind the house, because
she would not be coming and going,  morning and night, in that
jerky way the Larkins' cows come home. They don't  mind which
gate they rush in at. I should hate to have our cow dash into our 
front yard just as I was coming home of an afternoon."

"That is true," said Mr. Peterkin; "we can have the door of the
cow-house open  directly into the pasture, and save the coming and

The little boys were quite disappointed. The cow would miss the
exercise, and  they would lose a great pleasure.

Solomon John suggested that they might sit on the fence and watch
the cow.

It was decided to keep the cow in their own pasture; and as they
were to put on  an end kitchen, it would be perfectly easy to build
a dairy.

The cow proved a quiet one. She was a little excited when all the
family stood  round at the first milking, and watched her slowly
walking into the shed.

Elizabeth Eliza had her scarlet sack dyed brown a fortnight before.
It was the  one she did her gardening in, and it might have
infuriated the cow. And she kept  out of the garden the first day or

 Mrs. Peterkin and Elizabeth Eliza bought the best kind of
milk-pans, of every  size.

But there was a little disappointment about the taste of the milk.

The little boys liked it, and drank large mugs of it. Elizabeth Eliza
said she  could never learn to love milk warm from the cow,
though she would like to do  her best to patronize the cow.

Mrs. Peterkin was afraid Amanda did not under stand about taking
care of the  milk; yet she had been down to overlook her, and she
was sure the pans and the  closet were all clean.

"Suppose we send a pitcher of cream over to the lady from
Philadelphia to try,"

said Elizabeth Eliza; "it will be a pretty attention before she goes."

"It might be awkward if she didn't like it," said Solomon John.
"Perhaps  something is the matter with the grass."

"I gave the cow an apple to eat yesterday," said one of the little
boys,  remorsefully.

Elizabeth Eliza went over, and Mrs. Peterkin too, and explained all
to the lady  from Philadelphia, asking her to taste the milk.

The lady from Philadelphia tasted, and said the truth was that the
milk was sour  !

"I was afraid it was so," said Mrs. Peterkin; "but I didn't know what
to expect  from these new kinds of cows."

The lady from Philadelphia asked where the milk was kept.

 "In the new dairy," answered Elizabeth Eliza.

"Is that in a cool place?" asked the lady from Philadelphia.

Elizabeth Eliza explained it was close by the new kitchen.

"Is it near the chimney ?" inquired the lady from Philadelphia.

"It is directly back of the chimney and the new kitchen-range,"
replied  Elizabeth Eliza. "I suppose it is too hot! "

"Well, well!" said Mrs. Peterkin, "that is it! Last winter the milk
froze, and  now we have gone to the other extreme! Where shall
we put our dairy?"

the Peterkins began to prepare for their Christmas-tree.

Everything was done in great privacy, as it was to be a surprise to
the  neighbors, as well as to the rest of the family. Mr. Peterkin
had been up to Mr.

Bromwick's wood-lot, and, with his consent, selected the tree.
Agamemnon went to  look at it occasionally after dark, and
Solomon John made frequent visits to it  mornings, just after
sunrise. Mr. Peterkin drove Elizabeth Eliza and her mother  that
way, and pointed furtively to it with his whip; but none of them
ever spoke  of it aloud to each other. It was suspected that the little
boys had been to see  it Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. But
they came home with their pockets full  of chestnuts, and said
nothing about it.

 At length Mr. Peterkin had it cut down and brought secretly into
the Larkin's  barn. A week or two before Christmas a measurement
was made of it with Elizabeth  Eliza's yard-measure. To Mr.
Peterkin's great dismay it was discovered that it  was too high to
stand in the back parlor.

This fact was brought out at a secret council of Mr. and Mrs.
Peterkin,  Elizabeth Eliza, and Agamemnon.

Agamemnon suggested that it might be set up slanting; but Mrs.
Peterkin was very  sure it would make her dizzy, and the candles
would drip.

But a brilliant idea came to Mr. Peterkin. He proposed that the
ceiling of the  parlor should be raised to make room for the top of
the tree.

Elizabeth Eliza thought the space would need to be quite large. It
must not be  like a small box, or you could not see the tree.

"Yes," said Mr. Peterkin, "I should have the ceiling lifted all across
the room;  the effect would be finer."

Elizabeth Eliza objected to having the whole ceiling raised,
because her room  was over the back parlor, and she would have
no floor while the alteration was  going on, which would be very
awkward. Besides, her room was not very high now,  and, if the
floor were raised, perhaps she could not walk in it upright.

Mr. Peterkin explained that he didn't propose altering the whole
ceiling, but to  life up a ridge across the room at the back part
where the tree was to stand.

This would make a hump, to be sure, in Elizabeth Eliza's room; but
it would go  across the whole room.

Elizabeth Eliza said she would not mind that. It would be like the
cuddy thing  that comes up on the deck of a ship, that you sit
against, only here you would  not have the sea-sickness. She
thought she should like it, for a rarity. She  might use it for a

Mrs. Peterkin thought it would come in the worn place of the
carpet, and might  be a convenience in making the carpet over.

Agamemnon was afraid there would be trouble in keeping the
matter secret, for it  would be a long piece of work for a carpenter;
but Mr. Peterkin proposed having  the carpenter for a day or two,
for a number of other jobs.

 One of them was to make all the chairs in the house of the same
height, for  Mrs. Peterkin had nearly broken her spine by sitting
down in a chair that she  had supposed was her own rocking-chair,
and it had proved to be two inches  lower. The little boys were
now large enough to sit in any chair; so a medium  was fixed upon
to satisfy all the family, and the chairs were made uniformly of 
the same height.

On consulting the carpenter, however, he insisted that the tree
could be cut off  at the lower end to suit the height of the parlor,
and demurred at so great a  change as altering the ceiling. But Mr.
Peterkin had set his mind upon the  improvement, and Elizabeth
Eliza had cut her carpet in preparation for it.

 So the folding-doors into the back parlor were closed, and for
nearly a  fortnight before Christmas there was great litter of fallen
plastering, and  laths, and chips, and shavings; and Elizabeth
Eliza's carpet was taken up, and  the furniture had to be changed,
and one night she had to sleep at the  Bromwicks', for there was a
long hole in her floor that might be dangerous.

All this delighted the little boys. They could not understand what
was going on.

Perhaps they suspected a Christmas-tree, but they did not know
why a  Christmas-tree should have so many chips, and were still
more astonished at the  hump that appeared in Elizabeth Eliza's
room. It must be a Christmas present, or  else the tree in a box.

Some aunts and uncles, too, arrived a day or two before Christmas,
with some  small cousins. These cousins occupied the attention of
the little boys, and  there was a great deal of whispering and
mystery, behind doors, and under the  stairs, and in the corners of
the entry.

Solomon John was busy, privately making some candles for the
tree. He had been  collecting some bayberries, as he understood
they made very nice candles, so  that it would not be necessary to
buy any.

The elders of the family never all went into the back parlor
together, and all  tried not to see what was going on. Mrs. Peterkin
would go in with Solomon John,  or Mr. Peterkin with Elizabeth
Eliza, or Elizabeth Eliza and Agamemnon and  Solomon John. The
little boys and the small cousins were never allowed even to  look
inside the room.

Elizabeth Eliza meanwhile went into town a number of times. She
wanted to  consult Amanda as to how much ice-cream they should
need, and whether they could  make it at home, as they had cream
and ice. She was pretty busy in her own room;  the furniture had to
be changed, and the carpet altered. The "hump" was higher  than
she expected. There was danger of bumping her own head
whenever she crossed  it. She had to nail some padding on the
ceiling for fear of accidents.

The afternoon before Christmas, Elizabeth Eliza, Solomon John,
and their father  collected in the back parlor for a council. The
carpenters had done their work,  and the tree stood at its full height
at the back of the room, the top  stretching up into the space
arranged for it. All the chips and shavings were  cleared away, and
it stood on a neat box.

But what were they to put upon the tree?

 Solomon John had brought in his supply of candles; but they
proved to be very  "stringy" and very few of them. It was strange
how many bayberries it took to  make a few candles! The little
boys had helped him, and he had gathered as much  as a bushel of
bayberries. He had put them in water, and skimmed off the wax, 
according to the directions; but there was so little wax!

Solomon John had given the little boys some of the bits sawed off
from the legs  of the chairs. He had suggested that they should
cover them with gilt paper, to  answer for gilt apples, without
telling them what they were for.

These apples, a little blunt at the end, and the candles were all they
had for  the tree!

After all her trips into town Elizabeth Eliza had forgotten to bring
anything  for it.

"I thought of candies and sugar-plums," she said; "but I concluded
if we made  caramels ourselves we should not need them. But,
then, we have not made  caramels. The fact is, that day my head
was full of my carpet. I had bumped it  pretty badly, too."

Mr. Peterkin wished he had taken, instead of a fir-tree, an
apple-tree he had  seen in October, full of red fruit.

"But the leaves would have fallen off by this time," said Elizabeth

 "And the apples, too," said Solomon John.

"It is odd I should have forgotten, that day I went in on purpose to
get the  things," said Elizabeth Eliza, musingly. "But I went from
shop to shop, and  didn't know exactly what to get. I saw a great
many gilt things for  Christmas-trees; but I knew the little boys
were making the gilt apples; there  were plenty of candles in the
shops, but I knew Solomon John was making the  candles."

Mr. Peterkin thought it was quite natural.

Solomon John wondered if it were too late for them to go into
town now.

Elizabeth Eliza could not go in the next morning, for there was to
be a grand  Christmas dinner, and Mr. Peterkin could not be
spared, and Solomon John was  sure he and Agamemnon would
not know what to buy. Besides, they would want to  try the candles

Mr. Peterkin asked if the presents everybody had been preparing
would not  answer. But Elizabeth Eliza knew they would be too

A gloom came over the room. There was only a flickering gleam
from one of  Solomon John's candles that he had lighted by way of

Solomon John again proposed going into town. He lighted a match
to examine the  newspaper about the trains. There were plenty of
trains coming out at that hour,  but none going in except a very late
one. That would not leave time to do  anything and come back.

"We could go in, Elizabeth Eliza and I," said Solomon John, "but
we should not  have time to buy anything."

Agamemnon was summoned in. Mrs. Peterkin was entertaining the
uncles and aunts  in the front parlor. Agamemnon wished there
was time to study up something about  electric lights. If they could
only have a calcium light! Solomon John's candle  sputtered and
went out.

At this moment there was a loud knocking at the front door. The
little boys, and  the small cousins, and the uncles and aunts, and
Mrs. Peterkin, hastened to see  what was the matter.

The uncles and aunts thought somebody's house must be on fire.
The door was  opened, and there was a man, white with flakes, for
it was beginning to snow,  and he was pulling in a large box.

Mrs. Peterkin supposed it contained some of Elizabeth Eliza's
purchases, so she  ordered it to be pushed into the back parlor, and
hastily called back her guests  and the little boys into the other
room. The little boys and the small cousins  were sure they had
seen Santa Claus himself.

Mr. Peterkin lighted the gas. The box was addressed to Elizabeth
Eliza. It was  from the lady from Philadelphia! She had gathered a
hint from Elizabeth Eliza's  letters that there was to be a
Christmas-tree, and had filled this box with all  that would be

It was opened directly. There was every kind of gilt hanging-thing,
from gilt  pea-pods to butterflies on springs. There were shining
flags and lanterns, and  birdcages, and nests with birds sitting on
them, baskets of fruit, gilt apples  and bunches of grapes, and, at
the bottom of the whole, a large box of candles  and a box of
Philadelphia bonbons!

 Elizabeth Eliza and Solomon John could scarcely keep from
screaming. The little  boys and the small cousins knocked on the
folding-doors to ask what was the  matter.

Hastily Mr. Peterkin and the rest took out the things and hung
them on the tree,  and put on the candles.

When all was done, it looked so well that Mr. Peterkin exclaimed:­ 
"Let us light the candles now, and send to invite all the neighbors
to-night,  and have the tree on Christmas Eve!"

And so it was that the Peterkins had their Christmas-tree the day
before, and on  Christmas night could go and visit their neighbors.

 MRS. PETERKIN'S TEA-PARTY.  TWAS important to have a
tea-party, as they had all been invited by  everybody,­the
Bromwicks, the Tremletts, and the Gibbonses. It would be such a 
good chance to pay off some of their old debts, now that the lady
from  Philadelphia was back again, and her two daughters, who
would be sure to make it  all go off well.

But as soon as they began to make out the list, they saw there were
too many to  have at once, for there were but twelve cups and
saucers in the best set.

"There are seven of us, to begin with," said Mr. Peterkin.

"We need not all drink tea," said Mrs. Peterkin.

"I never do," said Solomon John. The little boys never did.

"And we could have coffee, too," suggested Elizabeth Eliza.

"That would take as many cups," objected Agamemnon.

"We could use the every-day set for the coffee," answered
Elizabeth Eliza; "they  are the right shape. Besides," she went on,
"they would not all come. Mr. and  Mrs. Bromwick, for instance;
they never go out."

 "There are but six cups in the every-day set," said Mrs. Peterkin.

The little boys said there were plenty of saucers; and Mr. Peterkin
agreed with  Elizabeth Eliza that all would not come. Old Mr.
Jeffers never went out.

"There are three of the Tremletts," said Elizabeth Eliza; "they
never go out  together. One of them, if not two, will be sure to
have the headache. Ann Maria  Bromwick would come, and the
three Gibbons boys, and their sister Juliana; but  the other sisters
are out West, and there is but one Osborne."

It really did seem safe to ask "everybody." They would be sorry,
after it was  over, that they had not asked more.

"We have the cow," said Mrs. Peterkin, "so there will be as much
cream and milk  as we shall need."

"And our own pig," said Agamemnon. "I am glad we had it salted;
so we can have  plenty of sandwiches."

"I will buy a chest of tea," exclaimed Mr. Peterkin. "I have been
thinking of a  chest for some time."

 Mrs. Peterkin thought a whole chest would not be needed: it was
as well to buy  the tea and coffee by the pound. But Mr. Peterkin
determined on a chest of tea  and a bag of coffee.

So they decided to give the invitations to all. It might be a stormy
evening and  some would be prevented.

The lady from Philadelphia and her daughters accepted.

And it turned out a fair day, and more came than were expected.
Ann Maria  Bromwick had a friend staying with her, and brought
her over, for the Bromwicks  were opposite neighbors. And the
Tremletts had a niece, and Mary Osborne an  aunt, that they took
the liberty to bring.

 The little boys were at the door, to show in the guests, and as each
set came  to the front gate, they ran back to tell their mother that
more were coming.

Mrs. Peterkin had grown dizzy with counting those who had come,
and trying to  calculate how many were to come, and wondering
why there were always more and  never less, and whether the cups
would go round.

The three Tremletts all came, with their niece. They all had had
their headaches  the day before, and were having that banged
feeling you always have after a  headache; so they all sat at the
same side of the room on the long sofa.

All the Jefferses came, though they had sent uncertain answers.
Old Mr. Jeffers  had to be helped in, with his cane, by Mr.

The Gibbons boys came, and would stand just outside the parlor
door. And Juliana  appeared afterward, with the two other sisters,
unexpectedly home from the West.

 "Got home this morning!" they said. "And so glad to be in time to
see  everybody,­a little tired, to be sure, after forty-eight hours in a 

"Forty-eight!" repeated Mrs. Peterkin; and wondered if there were
forty-eight  people, and why they were all so glad to come, and
whether all could sit down.

Old Mr. and Mrs. Bromwick came. They thought it would not be
neighborly to stay  away. They insisted on getting into the most
uncomfortable seats.

Yet there seemed to be seats enough while the Gibbons boys
preferred to stand.

But they never could sit round a tea-table. Elizabeth Eliza had
thought they all  might have room at the table, and Solomon John
and the little boys could help in  the waiting.

It was a great moment when the lady from Philadelphia arrived
with her  daughters. Mr. Peterkin was talking to Mr. Bromwick,
who was a little deaf. The  Gibbons boys retreated a little farther
behind the parlor door. Mrs. Peterkin  hastened forward to shake
hands with the lady from Philadelphia, saying:­  "Four Gibbons
girls and Mary Osborne's aunt,­that makes nineteen; and now"­  It
made no difference what she said; for there was such a murmuring
of talk that  any words suited. And the lady from Philadelphia
wanted to be introduced to the  Bromwicks.

It was delightful for the little boys. They came to Elizabeth Eliza,
and asked:­ 

"Can't we go and ask more ? Can't we fetch the Larkins?"

"Oh, dear, no!" answered Elizabeth Eliza. "I can't even count

Mrs. Peterkin found time to meet Elizabeth Eliza in the side entry,
to ask if  there were going to be cups enough.

"I have set Agamemnon in the front entry to count," said Elizabeth
Eliza,  putting her hand to her head.

The little boys came to say that the Maberlys were coming.

"The Maberlys!" exclaimed Elizabeth Eliza. "I never asked them."

"It is your father's doing," cried Mrs. Peterkin. "I do believe he
asked  everybody he saw!" And she hurried back to her guests.

"What if father really has asked everybody?" Elizabeth Eliza said
to herself,  pressing her head again with her hand.

There were the cow and the pig. But if they all took tea or coffee,
or both, the  cups could not go round.

Agamemnon returned in the midst of her agony.

 MRS. PETERKIN'S TEA-PARTY. He had not been able to count
the guests, they moved about so, they talked so;  and it would not
look well to appear to count.

"What shall we do?" exclaimed Elizabeth Eliza.

"We are not a family for an emergency," said Agamemnon.

"What do you suppose they did in Philadelphia at the Exhibition,
when there were  more people than cups and saucers?" asked
Elizabeth Eliza. "Could not you go and  inquire? I know the lady
from Philadelphia is talking about the Exhibition, and  telling how
she stayed at home to receive friends. And they must have had 
trouble there! Could not you go in and ask, just as if you wanted to

Agamemnon looked into the room, but there were too many
talking with the lady  from Philadelphia.

"If we could only look into some book," he said,­"the
encyclopaedia or the  dictionary, they are such a help sometimes!"

At this moment he thought of his "Great Triumphs of Great Men,"
that he was  reading just now. He had not reached the lives of the
Stephensons, or any of the  men of modern times. He might skip
over to them,­he knew they were men for  emergencies.

He ran up to his room, and met Solomon John coming down with

"That is a good thought," said Agamemnon. "I will bring down
more upstairs  chairs."

"No," said Solomon John; "here are all that can come down; the
rest of the  bedroom chairs match bureaus, and they never will

Agamemnon kept on to his own room, to consult his books. If only
he could invent  something on the spur of the moment,­a set of
bedroom furniture, that in an  emergency could be turned into
parlor chairs! It seemed an idea; and he sat  himself down to his
table and pencils, when he was interrupted by the little  boys, who
came to tell him that Elizabeth Eliza wanted him.

The little boys had been busy thinking. They proposed that the
tea-table, with  all the things on, should be pushed into the front
room, where the company were;  and those could take cups who
could find cups.

But Elizabeth Eliza feared it would not be safe to push so large a
table; it  might upset, and break what china they had.

Agamemnon came down to find her pouring out tea, in the back
room. She called to  him:­  "Agamemnon, you must bring Mary
Osborne to help, and perhaps one of the Gibbons  boys would carry
round some of the cups."

And so she began to pour out and to send round the sandwiches,
and the tea, and  the coffee. Let things go as far as they would!

The little boys took the sugar and cream.

"As soon as they have done drinking bring back the cups and
saucers to be  washed," she said to the Gibbons boys and the little

This was an idea of Mary Osborne's.

But what was their surprise, that the more they poured out, the
more cups they  seemed to have! Elizabeth Eliza took the coffee,
and Mary Osborne the tea.

Amanda brought fresh cups from the kitchen.

"I can't understand it," Elizabeth Eliza said to Amanda. "Do they
come back to  you, round through the piazza? Surely there are
more cups than there were!"

Her surprise was greater when some of them proved to be
coffee-cups that matched  the set! And they never had had

Solomon John came in at this moment, breathless with triumph.

"Solomon John!" Elizabeth Eliza exclaimed; "I cannot understand
the cups!"

"It is my doing," said Solomon John, with an elevated air. "I went
to the lady  from Philadelphia, in the midst of her talk. 'What do
you do in Philadelphia,  when you haven't enough cups?' 'Borrow
of my neighbors,' she answered, as quick  as she could."

"She must have guessed," interrupted Elizabeth Eliza.

"That may be," said Solomon John. "But I whispered to Ann Maria
Bromwick,­she  was standing by,­and she took me straight over
into their closet, and old Mr.

Bromwick bought this set just where we bought ours. And they had
a coffee-set,  too"­  "You mean where our father and mother
bought them. We were not born," said  Elizabeth Eliza.

"It is all the same," said Solomon John. "They match exactly."

So they did, and more and more came in.

Elizabeth Eliza exclaimed:

"And Agamemnon says we are not a family for emergencies!"

"Ann Maria was very good about it," said Solomon John; "and
quick, too. And old  Mrs. Bromwick has kept all her set of two
dozen coffee and tea cups!"

Elizabeth Eliza was ready to faint with delight and relief. She told
the Gibbons  boys, by mistake, instead of Agamemnon, and the
little boys. She almost let fall  the cups and saucers she took in her

"No trouble now!"

She thought of the cow, and she thought of the pig, and she poured

No trouble, except about the chairs. She looked into the room; all
seemed to be  sitting down, even her mother. No, her father was
standing, talking to Mr.

Jeffers. But he was drinking coffee, and the Gibbons boys were
handing things  around.

The daughters of the lady from Philadelphia were sitting on shawls
on the edge  of the window that opened upon the piazza. It was a
soft, warm evening, and some  of the young people were on the
piazza. Everybody was talking and laughing,  except those who
were listening.

Mr. Peterkin broke away, to bring back his cup and another for
more coffee.

 "It's a great success, Elizabeth Eliza," he whispered. "The coffee is 
admirable, and plenty of cups. We asked none too many. I should
not mind having  a tea-party every week."

Elizabeth Eliza sighed with relief as she filled his cup. It was going
off well.

There were cups enough, but she was not sure she could live over
another such  hour of anxiety; and what was to be done after tea?

Dramatis Personæ. ­Amanda (friend of Elizabeth Eliza), Amanda's
mother,  girls of the graduating class, Mrs. Peterkin, Elizabeth
Eliza. AMANDA [coming in with a few graduates ].

 MOTHER, the exhibition is over, and I have brought the whole
class home to the  collation.

MOTHER.­ The whole class! I But I only expected a few.

AMANDA.­ The rest are coming. I brought Julie, and Clara, and
Sophie with me. [A  voice is heard. ] Here are the rest.

MOTHER.­ Why, no. It is Mrs. Peterkin and Elizabeth Eliza!

AMANDA.­ Too late for the exhibition. Such a shame! But in time
for the  collation.

MOTHER [to herself ].­ If the ice-cream will go round.

AMANDA.­ But what made you so late? Did you miss the train?
This is Elizabeth  Eliza, girls­you have heard me speak of her.
What a pity you were too late!

MRS. PETERKIN.­ We tried to come; we did our best.

MOTHER.­ Did you miss the train? Didn't you get my postal-card?

MRS. PETERKIN.­ We had nothing to do with the train.

AMANDA.­ You don't mean you walked?

MRS. PETERKIN.­ O no, indeed!

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ We came in a horse and carryall.

JULIA.­ I always wondered how anybody could come in a horse!

AMANDA.­ You are too foolish, Julia. They came in the carryall
part. But didn't  you start in time?

MRS. PETERKIN.­ It all comes from the carryall being so hard to
turn. I told Mr.

Peterkin we should get into trouble with one of those carryalls that
don't turn  easy.

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ They turn easy enough in the stable, so you
can't tell.

MRS. PETERKIN.­ Yes; we started with the little boys and
Solomon John on the  back seat, and Elizabeth Eliza on the front.
She was to drive, and I was to see  to the driving. But the horse
was not faced toward Boston.

MOTHER.­ And you tipped over in turning round! Oh, what an

AMANDA.­ And the little boys­where are they? Are they killed?

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ The little boys are all safe. We left them at
the Pringles',  with Solomon John.

MOTHER.­ But what did happen?

MRS. PETERKIN.­ We started the wrong way.

MOTHER.­ You lost your way, after all?

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ No; we knew the way well enough.

AMANDA.­ It's as plain as a pikestaff!

MRS. PETERKIN.­ No; we had the horse faced in the wrong
direction,­toward  Providence.

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ And mother was afraid to have me turn, and
we kept on and on  till we should reach a wide place.

MRS. PETERKIN.­ I thought we should come to a road that would
veer off to the  right or left, and bring us back to the right

MOTHER.­ Could not you all get out and turn the thing round?

MRS. PETERKIN.­ Why, no; if it had broken down we should not
have been in  anything, and could not have gone anywhere.

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ Yes, I have always heard it was best to stay
in the carriage,  whatever happens.

JULIA.­ But nothing seemed to happen.

MRS. PETERKIN.­ O yes; we met one man after another, and we
asked the way to  Boston.

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ And all they would say was, "Turn right
round­you are on the  road to Providence."

MRS. PETERKIN.­ As if we could turn right round! That was just
what we couldn't.

 MOTHER.­ You don't mean you kept on all the way to

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ O dear, no! We kept on and on, till we met
a man with a black  hand-bag­black leather I should say.

JULIA.­ He must have been a book-agent.

MRS. PETERKIN.­ I dare say he was; his bag seemed heavy. He
set it on a stone.

MOTHER.­ I dare say it was the same one that came here the other
day. He wanted  me to buy the "History of the Aborigines, Brought
up from Earliest Times to the  Present Date," in four volumes. I
told him I hadn't time to read so much. He  said that was no matter,
few did, and it wasn't much worth it­they bought books  for the
look of the thing.

AMANDA.­ Now, that was illiterate; he never could have
graduated. I hope,  Elizabeth Eliza, you had nothing to do with that

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ Very likely it was not the same one.

MOTHER.­ Did he have a kind of pepper-and-salt suit, with one of
the buttons  worn?

MRS. PETERKIN.­ I noticed one of the buttons was off.

AMANDA.­ We're off the subject. Did you buy his book?

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ He never offered us his book.

MRS. PETERKIN.­ He told us the same story,­we were going to
Providence; if we  wanted to go to Boston, we must turn directly

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ I told him I couldn't; but he took the horse's
head, and the  first thing I knew­  AMANDA.­ He had yanked you

MRS. PETERKIN.­ I screamed; I couldn't help it!

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ I was glad when it was over!

MOTHER.­ Well, well; it shows the disadvantage of starting

MRS. PETERKIN.­ Yes, we came straight enough when the horse
was headed right;  but we lost time.

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ I am sorry enough I lost the exhibition, and
seeing you take  the diploma, Amanda. I never got the diploma
myself. I came near it.

MRS. PETERKIN.­ Somehow, Elizabeth Eliza never succeeded. I
think there was  partiality about the promotions.

 ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ I never was good about remembering
things. I studied well  enough, but, when I came to say off my
lesson, I couldn't think what it was. Yet  I could have answered
some of the other girls' questions.

JULIA.­ It's odd how the other girls always have the easiest

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ I never could remember poetry There was
only one thing I could  repeat.

AMANDA.­ Oh, do let us have it now; and then we'll recite to you
some of our  exhibition pieces.


MRS. PETERKIN.­ Yes, Elizabeth Eliza, do what you can to help
entertain Amanda's  friends.

[All stand looking at ELIZABETH ELIZA, who remains silent and
thoughtful. ] ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ I'm trying to think what it is
about. You all know it. You  remember, Amanda,­the name is
rather long.

AMANDA.­ It can't be Nebuchadnezzar, can it?­that is one of the
longest names I  know.


JULIA.­ Perhaps it's Cleopatra.

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ It does begin with a "C"­only he was a boy.

AMANDA.­ That's a pity, for it might be " We are seven," only
that is a girl.

Some of them were boys.

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ It begins about a boy­if I could only think
where he was. I  can't remember.

AMANDA.­ Perhaps he "stood upon the burning deck?"

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ That's just it; I knew he stood somewhere.

AMANDA.­ Casabianca! Now begin­go ahead.

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­      "The boy stood on the burning deck,      

I can't think who stood there with him  JULIA.­ If the deck was
burning, it must have been on fire. I guess the rest ran  away, or
jumped into boats.

AMANDA.­ That's just it:­      "Whence all but him had fled."

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ I think I can say it now.

    "The boy stood on the burning deck,       Whence all but him had

[She hesitates. ] Then I think he went­  JULIA.­ Of course, he fled
after the rest.

AMANDA.­ Dear, no! That's the point. He didn't.

    "The flames rolled on, he would not go       Without his father's

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ O yes. Now I can say it.

    "The boy stood on the burning deck,       Whence all but him had
fled;     The flames rolled on, he would not go       Without his
father's word."

But it used to rhyme. I don't know what has happened to it.

MRS. PETERKIN.­ Elizabeth Eliza is very particular about the

ELIZABETH ELIZA.­ It must be "without his father's head," or,
perhaps, "without  his father said" he should.

JULIA.­ I think you must have omitted something.

AMANDA.­ She has left out ever so much!

MOTHER.­ Perhaps it's as well to omit some, for the ice-cream
has come, and you  must all come down.

AMANDA.­ And here are the rest of the girls; and let us all unite
in a song!

[Exeunt omnes, singing. ]

day began early.

A compact had been made with the little boys the evening before.

They were to be allowed to usher in the glorious day by the
blowing of horns  exactly at sunrise. But they were to blow them
for precisely five minutes only,  and no sound of the horns should
be heard afterward till the family were  downstairs.

It was thought that a peace might thus be bought by a short, though
crowded,  period of noise.

The morning came. Even before the morning, at half-past three
o'clock, a  terrible blast of the horns aroused the whole family.

 Mrs. Peterkin clasped her hands to her head and exclaimed: "I am
thankful the  lady from Philadelphia is not here!" For she had been
invited to stay a week,  but had declined to come before the Fourth
of July, as she was not well, and her  doctor had prescribed quiet.

And the number of the horns was most remarkable! It was as
though every cow in  the place had arisen and was blowing
through both her own horns!

"How many little boys are there? How many have we?" exclaimed
Mr. Peterkin,  going over their names one by one mechanically,
thinking he would do it, as he  might count imaginary sheep
jumping over a fence, to put himself to sleep. Alas!

the counting could not put him to sleep now, in such a din.

 And how unexpectedly long the five minutes seemed! Elizabeth
Eliza was to take  out her watch and give the signal for the end of
the five minutes, and the  ceasing of the horns. Why did not the
signal come? Why did not Elizabeth Eliza  stop them?

And certainly it was long before sunrise; there was no dawn to be

"We will not try this plan again," said Mrs. Peterkin.

"If we live to another Fourth," added Mr. Peterkin, hastening to the
door to  inquire into the state of affairs.

Alas! Amanda, by mistake, had waked up the little boys an hour
too early. And by  another mistake the little boys had invited three
or four of their friends to  spend the night with them. Mrs. Peterkin
had given them permission to have the  boys for the whole day,
and they understood the day as beginning when they went  to bed
the night before. This accounted for the number of horns.

 It would have been impossible to hear any explanation; but the
five minutes  were over, and the horns had ceased, and there
remained only the noise of a  singular leaping of feet, explained
perhaps by a possible pillow-fight, that  kept the family below
partially awake until the bells and cannon made known the 
dawning of the glorious day,­the sunrise, or "the rising of the
sons," as Mr.

Peterkin jocosely called it when they heard the little boys and their
friends  clattering down the stairs to begin the outside festivities.

They were bound first for the swamp, for Elizabeth Eliza, at the
suggestion of  the lady from Philadelphia, had advised them to
hang some flags around the  pillars of the piazza. Now the little
boys knew of a place in the swamp where  they had been in the
habit of digging for "flag-root," and where they might find  plenty
of flag flowers. They did bring away all they could, but they were a 
little out of bloom. The boys were in the midst of nailing up all
they had on  the pillars of the piazza when the procession of the
Antiques and Horribles  passed along. As the procession saw the
festive arrangements on the piazza, and  the crowd of boys, who
cheered them loudly, it stopped to salute the house with  some
especial strains of greeting.

Poor Mrs. Peterkin! They were directly under her windows! In a
few moments of  quiet, during the boys' absence from the house on
their visit to the swamp, she  had been trying to find out whether
she had a sick-headache, or whether it was  all the noise, and she
was just deciding it was the sick headache, but was  falling into a
light slumber, when the fresh noise outside began.

There were the imitations of the crowing of cocks, and braying of
donkeys, and  the sound of horns, encored and increased by the
cheers of the boys. Then began  the torpedoes, and the Antiques
and Horribles had Chinese crackers also.

And, in despair of sleep, the family came down to breakfast.

Mrs. Peterkin had always been much afraid of fire-works, and had
never allowed  the boys to bring gunpowder into the house. She
was even afraid of torpedoes;  they looked so much like
sugar-plums she was sure some the children would  swallow them,
and explode before anybody knew it.

She was very timid about other things. She was not sure even
about pea-nuts.

Everybody exclaimed over this: "Surely there was no danger in
pea-nuts!" But  Mrs. Peterkin declared she had been very much
alarmed at the Centennial  Exhibition, and in the crowded corners
of the streets in Boston, at the pea-nut  stands, where they had
machines to roast the pea-nuts. She did not think it was  safe. They
might go off any time, in the midst of a crowd of people, too!

Mr. Peterkin thought there actually was no danger, and he should
be sorry to  give up the pea-nut. He thought it an American
institution, something really  belonging to the Fourth of July. He
even confessed to a quiet pleasure in  crushing the empty shells
with his feet on the sidewalks as he went along the  streets.

Agamemnon thought it a simple joy.

In consideration, however, of the fact that they had had no real
celebration of  the Fourth the last year, Mrs. Peterkin had
consented to give over the day, this  year, to the amusement of the
family as a Centennial celebration. She would  prepare herself for
a terrible noise,­only she did not want any gunpowder  brought into
the house.

The little boys had begun by firing some torpedoes a few days
beforehand, that  their mother might be used to the sound, and had
selected their horns some weeks  before.

Solomon John had been very busy in inventing some fireworks. As
Mrs. Peterkin  objected to the use of gunpowder, he found out
from the dictionary what the  different parts of gunpowder
are,­saltpetre, charcoal, and sulphur. Charcoal, he  discovered, they
had in the wood-house; saltpetre they would find in the cellar,  in
the beef barrel; and sulphur they could buy at the apothecary's. He
explained  to his mother that these materials had never yet
exploded in the house, and she  was quieted.

Agamemnon, meanwhile, remembered a recipe he had read
somewhere for making a  "fulminating paste" of iron-filings and
powder of brimstone. He had written it  down on a piece of paper
in his pocket-book. But the iron filings must be finely  powdered.
This they began upon a day or two before, and the very afternoon 
before laid out some of the paste on the piazza.

 Pin-wheels and rockets were contributed by Mr. Peterkin for the

According to a programme drawn up by Agamemnon and
Solomon John, the reading of  the Declaration of Independence
was to take place in the morning, on the piazza,  under the flags.

The Bromwicks brought over their flag to hang over the door.

"That is what the lady from Philadelphia meant," explained
Elizabeth Eliza.

 "She said the flags of our country," said the little boys. "We
thought she  meant 'in the country.'"

Quite a company assembled; but it seemed nobody had a copy of
the Declaration of  Independence.

Elizabeth Eliza said she could say one line, if they each could add
as much. But  it proved they all knew the same line that she did, as
they began:­  "When, in the course of­when, in the course of­when,
in the course of human­when  in the course of human events­when,
in the course of human events, it  becomes­when, in the course of
human events, it becomes necessary­when, in the  course of human
events it becomes necessary for one people"­  They could not get
any farther. Some of the party decided that "one people" was  a
good place to stop, and the little boys sent off some fresh
torpedoes in honor  of the people. But Mr. Peterkin was not
satisfied. He invited the assembled  party to stay until sunset, and
meanwhile he would find a copy, and torpedoes  were to be saved
to be fired off at the close of every sentence.

And now the noon bells rang and the noon bells ceased.

 Mrs. Peterkin wanted to ask everybody to dinner. She should have
some cold  beef. She had let Amanda go, because it was the
Fourth, and everybody ought to  be free that one day; so she could
not have much of a dinner. But when she went  to cut her beef she
found Solomon had taken it to soak, on account of the  saltpetre,
for the fireworks!

Well, they had a pig; so she took a ham, and the boys had bought
tamarinds and  buns and a cocoa-nut. So the company stayed on,
and when the Antiques and  Horribles passed again they were
treated to pea-nuts and lemonade.

 They sung patriotic songs, they told stories, they fired torpedoes,
they  frightened the cats with them. It was a warm afternoon; the
red poppies were out  wide, and the hot sun poured down on the
alley-ways in the garden. There was a  seething sound of a hot day
in the buzzing of insects, in the steaming heat that  came up from
the ground. Some neighboring boys were firing a toy cannon.
Every  time it went off Mrs. Peterkin started, and looked to see if
one of the little  boys was gone. Mr. Peterkin had set out to find a
copy of the "Declaration."   Agamemnon had disappeared. She had
not a moment to decide about her headache.

She asked Ann Maria if she were not anxious about the fireworks,
and if rockets  were not dangerous. They went up, but you were
never sure where they came down.

And then came a fresh tumult! All the fire-engines in town rushed
toward them,  clanging with bells, men and boys yelling! They
were out for a practice and for  a Fourth-of-July show.

Mrs. Peterkin thought the house was on fire, and so did some of
the guests.

There was great rushing hither and thither. Some thought they
would better go  home; some thought they would better stay. Mrs.
Peterkin hastened into the house  to save herself, or see what she
could save. Elizabeth Eliza followed her, first  proceeding to
collect all the pokers and tongs she could find, because they  could
be thrown out of the window without breaking. She had read of
people who  had flung looking-glasses out of the window by
mistake, in the excitement of the  house being on fire,   and had
carried the pokers and tongs carefully into the  garden. There was
nothing like being prepared. She had always determined to do  the
reverse. So with calmness she told Solomon John to take down the 
looking-glasses. But she met with a difficulty,­there were no
pokers and tongs,  as they did not use them. They had no open
fires; Mrs. Peterkin had been afraid  of them. So Elizabeth Eliza
took all the pots and kettles up to the upper  windows, ready to be
thrown out.

But where was Mrs. Peterkin? Solomon John found she had fled to
the attic in  terror. He persuaded her to come down, assuring her it
was the most unsafe  place; but she insisted upon stopping to
collect some bags of old pieces, that  nobody would think of
saving from the general wreck, she said, unless she did.   Alas! this
was the result of fireworks on Fourth of July! As they came 
downstairs they heard the voices of all the company declaring
there was no fire;  the danger was past. It was long before Mrs.
Peterkin could believe it. They  told her the fire company was only
out for show, and to celebrate the Fourth of  July. She thought it
already too much celebrated.

Elizabeth Eliza's kettles and pans had come down through the
windows with a  crash, that had only added to the festivities, the
little boys thought.

 Mr. Peterkin had been roaming about all this time in search of a
copy of the  Declaration of Independence. The public library was
shut, and he had to go from  house to house; but now, as the sunset
bells and cannon began, he returned with  a copy, and read it, to
the pealing of the bells and sounding of the cannon.

Torpedoes and crackers were fired at every pause. Some
sweet-marjoram pots, tin  cans filled with crackers which were
lighted, went off with great explosions.

At the most exciting moment, near the close of the reading,
Agamemnon, with an  expression of terror, pulled Solomon John

"I have suddenly remembered where I read about the 'fulminating
paste' we made.

It was in the preface to 'Woodstock,' and I have been round to
borrow the book  to read the directions over again, because I was
afraid about the 'paste' going  off. READ THIS QUICKLY! and tell
me, Where is the fulminating paste? "

Solomon John was busy winding some covers of paper over a little
parcel. It  contained chlorate of potash and sulphur mixed. A
friend had told him of the  composition. The more thicknesses of
paper you put round it the louder it would  go off. You must pound
it with a hammer. Solomon John felt it must be perfectly  safe, as
his mother had taken potash for a medicine.

He still held the parcel as he read from Agamemnon's book: "This
paste, when it  has lain together about twenty-six hours, will of
itself take fire, and burn all  the sulphur away with a blue flame
and a bad smell."

"Where is the paste?" repeated Solomon John, in terror.

"We made it just twenty-six hours ago," said Agamemnon.

"We put it on the piazza," exclaimed Solomon John, rapidly
recalling the facts,  "and it is in front of our mother's feet!"

 He hastened to snatch the paste away before it should take fire,
flinging aside  the packet in his hurry. Agamemnon, jumping upon
the piazza at the same moment,  trod upon the paper parcel, which
exploded at once with the shock, and he fell  to the ground, while
at the same moment the paste "fulminated" into a blue flame 
directly in front of Mrs. Peterkin!

It was a moment of great confusion. There were cries and screams.
The bells were  still ringing, the cannon firing, and Mr. Peterkin
had just reached the closing  words: "Our lives, our fortunes, and
our sacred honor."

 "We are all blown up, as I feared we should be," Mrs. Peterkin at
length  ventured to say, finding herself in a lilac-bush by the side
of the piazza. She  scarcely dared to open her eyes to see the
scattered limbs about her.

It was so with all. Even Ann Maria Bromwick clutched a pillar of
the piazza,  with closed eyes.

At length Mr. Peterkin said, calmly, "Is anybody killed?"

There was no reply. Nobody could tell whether it was because
everybody was  killed, or because they were too wounded to
answer. It was a great while before  Mrs. Peterkin ventured to

But the little boys soon shouted with joy, and cheered the success
of Solomon  John's fireworks, and hoped he had some more. One
of them had his face blackened  by an unexpected cracker, and
Elizabeth Eliza's muslin dress was burned here and  there. But no
one was hurt; no one had lost any limbs, though Mrs. Peterkin was 
sure she had seen some flying in the air. Nobody could understand
how, as she  had kept her eyes firmly shut.

 No greater accident had occurred than the singeing of the tip of
Solomon John's  nose. But there was an unpleasant and terrible
odor from the "fulminating  paste."

Mrs. Peterkin was extricated from the lilac-bush. No one knew
how she got there.

Indeed, the thundering noise had stunned everybody. It had roused
the  neighborhood even more than before. Answering explosions
came on every side,  and, though the sunset light had not faded
away, the little boys hastened to  send off rockets under cover of
the confusion. Solomon John's other fireworks  would not go. But
all felt he had done enough.

Mrs. Peterkin retreated into the parlor, deciding she really did have
a  headache. At times she had to come out when a rocket went off,
to see if it was  one of the little boys. She was exhausted by the
adventures of the day, and  almost thought it could not have been
worse if the boys had been allowed  gunpowder. The distracted
lady was thankful there was likely to be but one  Centennial Fourth
in her lifetime, and declared she should never more keep  anything
in the house as dangerous as saltpetred beef, and she should never 
venture to take another spoonful of potash.

 THE PETERKINS' PICNIC.  THERE was some doubt about the
weather. Solomon John looked at the  "Probabilities;" there were
to be "areas" of rain in the New England States.

Agamemnon thought if they could only know where the areas of
rain were to be  they might go to the others. Mr. Peterkin proposed
walking round the house in a  procession, to examine the sky. As
they returned they met Ann Maria Bromwick,  who was to go,
much surprised not to find them ready.

Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin were to go in the carryall, and take up the
lady from  Philadelphia, and Ann Maria, with the rest, was to
follow in a wagon, and to  stop for the daughters of the lady from
Philadelphia. The wagon arrived, and so  Mr. Peterkin had the
horse put into the carryall.

 A basket had been kept on the back piazza for some days, where
anybody could  put anything that would be needed for the picnic as
soon as it was thought of.

Agamemnon had already decided to take a thermometer;
somebody was always  complaining of being too hot or too cold at
a picnic, and it would be a great  convenience to see if she really
were so. He thought now he might take a  barometer, as
"Probabilities" was so uncertain. Then, if it went down in a 
threatening way, they could all come back.

The little boys had tied their kites to the basket. They had never
tried them at  home; it might be a good chance on the hills.
Solomon John had put in some  fishing-poles; Elizabeth Eliza, a
book of poetry. Mr. Peterkin did not like  sitting on the ground,
and proposed taking two chairs, one for himself and one  for
anybody else. The little boys were perfectly happy; they jumped in
and out  of the wagon a dozen times, with new india-rubber boots,
bought for the  occasion.

 Before they started, Mrs. Peterkin began to think she had already
had enough of  the picnic, what with going and coming, and trying
to remember things. So many  mistakes were made. The things that
were to go in the wagon were put in the  carryall, and the things in
the carryall had to be taken out for the wagon!

Elizabeth Eliza forgot her water-proof, and had to go back for her
veil, and Mr.

Peterkin came near forgetting his umbrella.

Mrs. Peterkin sat on the piazza and tried to think. She felt as if she
must have  forgotten something; she knew she must. Why could
not she think of it now,  before it was too late? It seems hard any
day to think what to have for dinner,  but how much easier now it
would be to stay at home quietly and order the  dinner,­and there
was the butcher's cart! But now they must think of everything.

  At last she was put into the carryall, and Mr. Peterkin in front to

Twice they started, and twice they found something was left
behind,­the loaf of  fresh brown bread on the back piazza, and a
basket of sandwiches on the front  porch. And just as the wagon
was leaving, the little boys shrieked, "The basket  of things was
left behind!"

Everybody got out of the wagon. Agamemnon went back into the
house, to see if  anything else were left. He looked into the closets;
he shut the front door, and  was so busy that he forgot to get into
the wagon himself. It started off and  went down the street without

He was wondering what he should do if he were left behind (why
had they not  thought to arrange a telegraph wire to the back wheel
of the wagon, so that he  might have sent a message in such a
case!), when the Bromwicks drove out of  their yard in their buggy,
and took him in.

 They joined the rest of the party at Tatham Corners, where they
were all to  meet and consult where they were to go. Mrs. Peterkin
called to Agamemnon, as  soon as he appeared. She had been
holding the barometer and the thermometer, and  they waggled so
that it troubled her. It was hard keeping the thermometer out of 
the sun, which would make it so warm. It really took away her
pleasure, holding  the things. Agamemnon decided to get into the
carryall, on the seat with his  father, and take the barometer and

The consultation went on. Should they go to Cherry Swamp, or
Lonetown Hill? You  had the view if you went to Lonetown Hill,
but maybe the drive to Cherry Swamp  was prettier.

Somebody suggested asking the lady from Philadelphia, as the
picnic was got up  for her.

But where was she?

"I declare," said Mr. Peterkin, "I forgot to stop for her!" The whole
picnic  there, and no lady from Philadelphia!

It seemed the horse had twitched his head in a threatening manner
as they passed  the house, and Mr. Peterkin had forgotten to stop,
and Mrs. Peterkin had been so  busy managing the thermometers
that she had not noticed, and the wagon had  followed on behind.

 Mrs. Peterkin was in despair. She knew they had forgotten
something! She did  not like to have Mr. Peterkin make a short
turn, and it was getting late, and  what would the lady from
Philadelphia think of it, and had they not better give  it all up?

But everybody said "No!" and Mr. Peterkin said he could make a
wide turn round  the Lovejoy barn. So they made the turn, and took
up the lady from Philadelphia,  and the wagon followed behind
and took up their daughters, for there was a  driver in the wagon
besides Solomon John.

 Ann Maria Bromwick said it was so late by this time, they might
as well stop  and have the picnic on the Common! But the question
was put again, Where should  they go?

The lady from Philadelphia decided for Strawberry Nook­it
sounded inviting.

There were no strawberries, and there was no nook, it was said,
but there was a  good place to tie the horses.

Mrs. Peterkin was feeling a little nervous, for she did not know
what the lady  from Philadelphia would think of their having
forgotten her, and the more she  tried to explain it, the worse it
seemed to make it. She supposed they never did  such things in
Philadelphia; she knew they had invited all the world to a party, 
but she was sure she would never want to invite anybody again.
There was no fun  about it till it was all over. Such a mistake­to
have a party for a person, and  then go without her; but she knew
they would forget something! She wished they  had not called it
their picnic.

There was another bother! Mr. Peterkin stopped. "Was anything
broke?" exclaimed  Mrs. Peterkin. "Was something forgotten?"
asked the lady from Philadelphia.

 No! But Mr. Peterkin didn't know the way; and here he was
leading all the  party, and a long row of carriages following.

They stopped, and it seemed nobody knew the way to Strawberry
Nook, unless it  was the Gibbons boys, who were far behind. They
were made to drive up, and said  that Strawberry Nook was in
quite a different direction, but they could bring  the party round to
it through the meadows.

The lady from Philadelphia thought they might stop anywhere,
such a pleasant  day, but Mr. Peterkin said they were started for
Strawberry Nook, and had better  keep on,   So they kept on. It
proved to be an excellent place, where they could tie the  horses to
a fence. Mrs. Peterkin did not like their all heading different ways; 
it seemed as if any of them might come at her, and tear up the
fence, especially  as the little boys had their kites flapping round.
The Tremletts insisted upon  the whole party going up the hill; it
was too damp below. So the Gibbons boys,  and the little boys and
Agamemnon, and Solomon John, and all the party had to  carry
everything up to the rocks. The large basket of "things" was very

It had been difficult to lift it into the wagon, and it was harder to
take it  out. But with the help of the driver, and Mr. Peterkin, and
old Mr. Bromwick, it  was got up the hill.

And at last all was arranged. Mr. Peterkin was seated in his chair.
The other  was offered to the lady from Philadelphia, but she
preferred the carriage  cushions; so did old Mr. Bromwick. And
the table-cloth was spread,­for they did  bring a table-cloth,­and
the baskets were opened, and the picnic really began.

The pickles had tumbled into the butter, and the spoons had been
forgotten, and  the Tremletts' basket had been left on their front
door-step. But nobody seemed  to mind. Everybody was hungry,
and everything they ate seemed of the best. The  little boys were
perfectly happy, and ate of all the kinds of cake. Two of the 
Tremletts would stand while they were eating, because they were
afraid of the  ants and the spiders that seemed to be crawling
round. And Elizabeth Eliza had  to keep poking with a fern leaf to
drive the insects out of the plates. The lady  from Philadelphia was
made comfortable with the cushions and shawls, leaning  against a
rock. Mrs. Peterkin wondered if she forgot she had been forgotten.

John Osborne said it was time for conundrums, and asked: "Why is
a pastoral  musical play better than the music we have here?
Because one is a grasshopper,  and the other is a grass-opera!"

Elizabeth Eliza said she knew a conundrum, a very funny one, one
of her friends  in Boston had told her. It was, "Why is­" It began,
"Why is something like­"

­no, "Why are they different?" It was something about an old
woman, or else it  was something about a young one. It was very
funny, if she could only think what  it was about, or whether it was
alike or different.

The lady from Philadelphia was proposing they should guess
Elizabeth Eliza's  conundrum, first the question, and then the
answer, when one of the Tremletts  came running down the hill,
and declared she had just discovered a very  threatening cloud, and
she was sure it was going to rain down directly.

Everybody started up, though no cloud was to be seen.

There was a great looking for umbrellas and water-proofs. Then it
appeared that  Elizabeth Eliza had left hers, after all, though she
had gone back for it twice.

Mr. Peterkin knew he had not forgotten his umbrella, because he
had put the  whole umbrella-stand into the wagon, and it had been
brought up the hill, but it  proved to hold only the family canes!

 There was a great cry for the "emergency basket," that had not
been opened yet.

Mrs. Peterkin explained how for days the family had been putting
into it what  might be needed, as soon as anything was thought of.
Everybody stopped to see  its contents. It was carefully covered
with newspapers. First came out a  backgammon-board. "That
would be useful," said Ann Maria, "if we have to spend  the
afternoon in anybody's barn." Next, a pair of andirons. "What were
they  for?" "In case of needing a fire in the woods," explained
Solomon John. Then  came a volume of the Encyclopædia. But it
was the first volume, Agamemnon now  regretted, and contained
only A and a part of B, and nothing about rain or  showers. Next, a
bag of pea-nuts, put in by the little boys, and Elizabeth  Eliza's
book of poetry, and a change of boots for Mr. Peterkin; a small
foot-rug  in case the ground should be damp; some paint-boxes of
the little boys';  a box  of fish-hooks for Solomon John; an
ink-bottle, carefully done up in a great deal  of newspaper, which
was fortunate, as the ink was oozing out; some old  magazines, and
a blacking-bottle; and at the bottom, a sun-dial. It was all very 
entertaining, and there seemed to be something for every occasion
but the  present. Old Mr. Bromwick did not wonder the basket was
so heavy. It was all so  interesting that nobody but the Tremletts
went down to the carriages.

The sun was shining brighter than ever, and Ann Maria insisted on
setting up the  sun-dial. Certainly there was no danger of a shower,
and they might as well go  on with the picnic. But when Solomon
John and Ann Maria had arranged the  sun-dial, they asked
everybody to look at their watches, so that they might see  if it was
right. And then came a great exclamation at the hour: "It was time 
they were all going home!"

The lady from Philadelphia had been wrapping her shawl about
her, as she felt  the sun was low. But nobody had any idea it was so
late! Well, they had left  late, and went back a great many times,
had stopped sometimes to consult, and  had been long on the road,
and it had taken a long time to fetch up the things,  so it was no
wonder it was time to go away. But it had been a delightful picnic, 
after all.

 THE PETERKINS' CHARADES.  EVER since the picnic the
Peterkins had been wanting to have "something" at  their house in
the way of entertainment. The little boys wanted to get up a  "great
Exposition," to show to the people of the place. But Mr. Peterkin
thought  it too great an effort to send to foreign countries for
"exhibits," and it was  given up.

There was, however, a new water-trough needed on the town
common, and the ladies  of the place thought it ought to be
something handsome,­something more than a  common
trough,­and they ought to work for it.

Elizabeth Eliza had heard at Philadelphia how much women had
done, and she felt  they ought to contribute to such a cause. She
had an idea, but she would not  speak of it at first, not until after
she had written to the lady from  Philadelphia. She had often
thought, in many cases, if they had asked her advice  first, they
might have saved trouble.

 Still, how could they ask advice before they themselves knew
what they wanted?

It was very easy to ask advice, but you must first know what to ask
about. And  again: Elizabeth Eliza felt you might have ideas, but
you could not always put  them together. There was this idea of the
water-trough, and then this idea of  getting some money for it. So
she began with writing to the lady from  Philadelphia. The little
boys believed she spent enough for it in postage-stamps  before it
all came out.

But it did come out at last that the Peterkins were to have some
charades at  their own house for the benefit of the needed
water-trough,­tickets sold only to  especial friends. Ann Maria
Bromwick was to help act, because she could bring  some old
bonnets and gowns that had been worn by an aged aunt years ago,
and  which they had always kept. Elizabeth Eliza said that
Solomon John would have to  be a Turk, and they must borrow all
the red things and cashmere scarfs in the  place. She knew people
would be willing to lend things.

Agamemnon thought you ought to get in something about the
Hindoos, they were  such an odd people. Elizabeth Eliza said you
must not have it too odd, or people  would not understand it, and
she did not want anything to frighten her mother.

She had one word suggested by the lady from Philadelphia in her
letters,­the one  that had "Turk" in it,­but they ought to have two
words  "Oh, yes," Ann Maria said, "you must have two words; if
the people paid for  their tickets they would want to get their
money's worth."

Solomon John thought you might have "Hindoos"; the little boys
could color their  faces brown, to look like Hindoos. You could
have the first scene an Irishman  catching a hen, and then paying
the water-taxes for "dues," and then have the  little boys for

 A great many other words were talked of, but nothing seemed to
suit. There was  a curtain, too, to be thought of, because the
folding-doors stuck when you tried  to open and shut them.
Agamemnon said that the Pan-Elocutionists had a curtain  they
would probably lend John Osborne, and so it was decided to ask
John Osborne  to help.

If they had a curtain they ought to have a stage. Solomon John said
he was sure  he had boards and nails enough, and it would be easy
to make a stage if John  Osborne would help put it up.

All this talk was the day before the charades. In the midst of it Ann
Maria went  over for her old bonnets and dresses and umbrellas,
and they spent the evening  in trying on the various things,­such
odd caps and remarkable bonnets ! Solomon  John said they ought
to have plenty of bandboxes; if you only had bandboxes  enough a
charade was sure to go off well; he had seen charades in Boston.

Peterkin said there were plenty in their attic, and the little boys
brought down  piles of them, and the back parlor was filled with

Ann Maria said she could bring over more things if she only knew
what they were  going to act. Elizabeth Eliza told her to bring
anything she had,­it would all  come of use.

The morning came, and the boards were collected for the stage.
Agamemnon and  Solomon John gave themselves to the work, and
John Osborne helped zealously. He  said the Pan-Elocutionists
would lend a scene also. There was a great clatter of  bandboxes,
and piles of shawls in corners, and such a piece of work in getting 
up the curtain! In the midst of it came in the little boys, shouting,
"All the  tickets are sold, at ten cents each !"

"Seventy tickets sold!" exclaimed Agamemnon.

"Seven dollars for the water-trough!" said Elizabeth Eliza.

"And we do not know yet what we are going to act!" exclaimed
Ann Maria.

But everybody's attention had to be given to the scene that was
going up in the  background, borrowed from the Pan-Elocutionists.
It was magnificent, and  represented a forest.

"Where are we going to put seventy people?" exclaimed Mrs.
Peterkin, venturing,  dismayed, into the heaps of shavings, and
boards, and litter.

The little boys exclaimed that a large part of the audience
consisted of boys,  who would not take up much room. But how
much clearing and sweeping and moving  of chairs was necessary
before all could be made ready! It was late, and some of  the
people had already come to secure good seats, even before the
actors had  assembled.

"What are we going to act?" asked Ann Maria.

"I have been so torn with one thing and another," said Elizabeth
Eliza, "I  haven't had time to think!"

"Haven't you the word yet?" asked John Osborne, for the audience
was flocking  in, and the seats were filling up rapidly.

"I have got one word in my pocket," said Elizabeth Eliza, "in the
letter from  the lady from Philadelphia. She sent me the parts of
the word. Solomon John is  to be a Turk, but I don't yet understand
the whole of the word."

"You don't know the word, and the people are all here!" said John
Osborne,  impatiently.

"Elizabeth Eliza !" exclaimed Ann Maria, "Solomon John says I'm
to be a Turkish  slave, and I'll have to wear a veil. Do you know
where the veils are? You know I  brought them over last night."

"Elizabeth Eliza! Solomon John wants you to send him the large
cashmere scarf !"

exclaimed one of the little boys, coming in.

"Elizabeth Eliza! you must tell us what kind of faces to make up!"
cried another  of the boys.

And the audience were heard meanwhile taking the seats on the
other side of the  thin curtain.

"You sit in front, Mrs. Bromwick; you are a little hard of hearing;
sit where  you can hear."

"And let Julia Fitch come where she can see," said another voice.

"And we have not any words for them to hear or see!" exclaimed
John Osborne,  behind the curtain.

"Oh, I wish we'd never determined to have charades! exclaimed
Elizabeth Eliza.

"Can't we return the money?"

"They are all here; we must give them something!" said John
Osborne, heroically.

 "And Solomon John is almost dressed," reported Ann Maria,
winding a veil around  her head.

"Why don't we take Solomon John's word 'Hindoos' for the first?"
said Agamemnon.

  John Osborne agreed to go in the first, hunting the "hin," or
anything, and one  of the little boys took the part of the hen, with
the help of a feather duster.

The bell rang, and the first scene began.

It was a great success. John Osborne's Irish was perfect. Nobody
guessed the  word, for the hen crowed by mistake; but it received
great applause.

Mr. Peterkin came on in the second scene to receive the
water-rates, and made a  long speech on taxation. He was
interrupted by Ann Maria as an old woman in a  huge bonnet. She
persisted in turning her back to the audience, speaking so low 
nobody heard her; and Elizabeth Eliza, who appeared in a more
remarkable bonnet,  was so alarmed she went directly back, saying
she had forgotten something But  this was supposed to be the
effect intended, and it was loudly cheered.

Then came a long delay, for the little boys brought out a number of
their  friends to be browned for Hindoos. Ann Maria played on the
piano till the scene  was ready. The curtain rose upon five brown
boys done up in blankets and  turbans.

"I am thankful that is over," said Elizabeth Eliza, "for now we can
act my word.

Only I don't myself know the whole."

"Never mind, let us act it," said John Osborne, "and the audience
can guess the  whole."

"The first syllable must be the letter P," said Elizabeth Eliza, "and
we must  have a school."

Agamemnon was master, and the little boys and their friends went
on as scholars.

All the boys talked and shouted at once, acting their idea of a
school by  flinging pea-nuts about, and scoffing at the master.

"They'll guess that to be 'row,'" said John Osborne in despair;
"they'll never  guess 'P'!"

 The next scene was gorgeous. Solomon John, as a Turk, reclined
on John  Osborne's army-blanket. He had on a turban, and a long
beard, and all the family  shawls. Ann Maria and Elizabeth Eliza
were brought in to him, veiled, by the  little boys in their Hindoo

This was considered the great scene of the evening, though
Elizabeth Eliza was  sure she did not know what to do,­whether to
kneel or sit down; she did not know  whether Turkish women did
sit down, and she could not help laughing whenever she  looked at
Solomon John. He, however, kept his solemnity. "I suppose I need
not  say much," he had said, "for I shall be the 'Turk who was
dreaming of the  hour.'" But he did order the little boys to bring
sherbet, and when they brought  it without ice insisted they must
have their heads cut off, and Ann Maria  fainted, and the scene

"What are we to do now?" asked John Osborne, warming up to the

"We must have an 'inn' scene," said Elizabeth Eliza, consulting her
letter; "two  inns, if we can."

 "We will have some travellers disgusted with one inn, and going
to another,"

said John Osborne.

"Now is the time for the bandboxes," said Solomon John, who,
since his Turk  scene was over, could give his attention to the rest
of the charade.

Elizabeth Eliza and Ann Maria went on as rival hostesses, trying to
draw Solomon  John, Agamemnon, and John Osborne into their
several inns. The little boys  carried valises, hand-bags, umbrellas,
and bandboxes. Bandbox after bandbox  appeared, and when
Agamemnon sat down upon his the applause was immense. At last 
the curtain fell.

"Now for the whole," said John Osborne, as he made his way off
the stage over a  heap of umbrellas.

"I can't think why the lady from Philadelphia did not send me the
whole," said  Elizabeth Eliza, musing over the letter.

"Listen, they are guessing," said John Osborne. "'D-ice-box.' I don't
wonder  they get it wrong."

"But we know it can't be that!" exclaimed Elizabeth Eliza, in
agony. "How can we  act the whole if we don't know it ourselves?"

"Oh, I see it!" said Ann Maria, clapping her hands. "Get your
whole family in  for the last scene."

Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin were summoned to the stage, and formed
the background,  standing on stools; in front were Agamemnon
and Solomon John, leaving room for  Elizabeth Eliza between; a
little in advance, and in front of all, half  kneeling, were the little
boys, in their india-rubber boots.

The audience rose to an exclamation of delight, "The Peterkins !"

 It was not until this moment that Elizabeth Eliza guessed the

"What a tableau!" exclaimed Mr. Bromwick; "the Peterkin family
guessing their  own charade."

had long felt it an impropriety to live in a house that was called a 
"semi-detached" house, when there was no other "semi" to it. It
had always  remained wholly detached, as the owner had never
built the other half. Mrs.

Peterkin felt this was not a sufficient reason for undertaking the
terrible  process of a move to another house, when they were fully
satisfied with the one  they were in.

But a more powerful reason forced them to go. The track of a new
railroad had to  be carried directly through the place, and a station
was to be built on that  very spot.

Mrs. Peterkin so much dreaded moving that she questioned
whether they could not  continue to live in the upper part of the
house and give up the lower part to  the station. They could then
dine at the restaurant, and it would be very  convenient about
travelling, as there would be no danger of missing the train,  if one
were sure of the direction.

But when the track was actually laid by the side of the house, and
the  steam-engine of the construction train puffed and screamed
under the dining-room  windows, and the engineer calmly looked
in to see what the family had for  dinner, she felt, indeed, that they
must move.

But where should they go? It was difficult to find a house that
satisfied the  whole family. One was too far off, and looked into a
tan-pit; another was too  much in the middle of the town, next door
to a machine-shop. Elizabeth Eliza  wanted a porch covered with
vines, that should face the sunset; while Mr.

Peterkin thought it would not be convenient to sit there looking
towards the  west in the late afternoon (which was his only leisure
time), for the sun would  shine in his face. The little boys wanted a
house with a great many doors, so  that they could go in and out
often. But Mr. Peterkin did not like so much  slamming, and felt
there was more danger of burglars with so many doors.

Agamemnon wanted an observatory, and Solomon John a shed for
a workshop. If he  could have carpenters' tools and a workbench he
could build an observatory, if  it were wanted.

 But it was necessary to decide upon something, for they must
leave their house  directly. So they were obliged to take Mr.
Finch's, at the Corners. It satisfied  none of the family. The porch
was a piazza, and was opposite a barn. There were  three other
doors,­too many to please Mr. Peterkin, and not enough for the 
little boys. There was no observatory, and nothing to observe if
there were one,  as the house was too low and some high trees shut
out any view. Elizabeth Eliza  had hoped for a view; but Mr.
Peterkin con soled her by deciding it was more  healthy to have to
walk for a view, and Mrs. Peterkin agreed that they might get  tired
of the same every day.

 And everybody was glad a selection was made, and the little boys
carried their  india-rubber boots the very first afternoon.

Elizabeth Eliza wanted to have some system in the moving, and
spent the evening  in drawing up a plan. It would be easy to
arrange everything beforehand, so that  there should not be the
confusion that her mother dreaded, and the discomfort  they had in
their last move. Mrs. Peterkin shook her head; she did not think it 
possible to move with any comfort. Agamemnon said a great deal
could be done  with a list and a programme.

 Elizabeth Eliza declared if all were well arranged a programme
would make it  perfectly easy. They were to have new parlor
carpets, which could be put down in  the new house the first thing.
Then the parlor furniture could be moved in, and  there would be
two comfortable rooms, in which Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin could sit 
while the rest of the move went on. Then the old parlor carpets
could be taken  up for the new dining-room and the downstairs
bedroom, and the family could  meanwhile dine at the old house.
Mr. Peterkin did not object to this, though the  distance was
considerable, as he felt exercise would be good for them all.

Elizabeth Eliza's programme then arranged that the dining-room
furniture should  be moved the third day, by which time one of the
old parlor carpets would be  down in the new dining-room, and
they could still sleep in the old house. Thus  there would always be
a quiet, comfortable place in one house or the other. Each  night,
when Mr. Peterkin came home, he would find some place for quiet
thought  and rest, and each day there should be moved only the
furniture needed for a  certain room. Great confusion would be
avoided and nothing misplaced. Elizabeth  Eliza wrote these last
words at the head of her programme,­" Misplace nothing."

And Agamemnon made a copy of the programme for each member
of the family.

 THE PETERKINS ARE MOVED.­Page 126. The first thing to be
done was to buy the parlor carpets. Elizabeth Eliza had  already
looked at some in Boston, and the next morning she went, by an
early  train, with her father, Agamemnon, and Solomon John, to
decide upon them.

 They got home about eleven o'clock, and when they reached the
house were  dismayed to find two furniture wagons in front of the
gate, already partly  filled ! Mrs. Peterkin was walking in and out
of the open door, a large book in  one hand, and a duster in the
other, and she came to meet them in an agony of  anxiety. What
should they do? The furniture carts had appeared soon after the 
rest had left for Boston, and the men had insisted upon beginning
to move the  things. In vain had she shown Elizabeth Eliza's
programme; in vain had she  insisted they must take only the
parlor furniture. They had declared they must  put the heavy pieces
in the bottom of the cart, and the lighter furniture on  top. So she
had seen them go into every room in the house, and select one
piece  of furniture after another, without even looking at Elizabeth
Eliza's programme;  she doubted if they could have read it if they
had looked at it.

Mr. Peterkin had ordered the carters to come; but he had no idea
they would come  so early, and supposed it would take them a long
time to fill the carts.

 But they had taken the dining-room sideboard first,­a heavy piece
of  furniture,­and all its contents were now on the dining-room
tables. Then,  indeed, they selected the parlor book-case, but had
set every book on the floor  The men had told Mrs. Peterkin they
would put the books in the bottom of the  cart, very much in the
order they were taken from the shelves. But by this time  Mrs.
Peterkin was considering the carters as natural enemies, and dared
not  trust them; besides, the books ought all to be dusted. So she
was now holding  one of the volumes of Agamemnon's
Encyclopædia, with difficulty, in one hand,  while she was dusting
it with the other. Elizabeth Eliza was in dismay. At this  moment
four men were bringing down a large chest of drawers from her
father's  room, and they called to her to stand out of the way. The
parlors were a scene  of confusion. In dusting the books Mrs.
Peterkin neglected to restore them to  the careful rows in which
they were left by the men, and they lay in hopeless  masses in
different parts of the room. Elizabeth Eliza sunk in despair upon
the  end of a sofa.

"It would have been better to buy the red and blue carpet," said
Solomon John.

"Is not the carpet bought?" exclaimed Mrs. Peterkin. And then they
were obliged  to confess they had been unable to decide upon one,
and had come back to consult  Mrs. Peterkin.

"What shall we do?" asked Mrs. Peterkin.

Elizabeth Eliza rose from the sofa and went to the door, saying, "I
shall be  back in a moment."

Agamemnon slowly passed round the room, collecting the
scattered volumes of his  Encyclopædia. Mr. Peterkin offered a
helping hand to a man lifting a wardrobe.

Elizabeth Eliza soon returned. "I did not like to go and ask her. But
I felt  that I must in such an emergency. I explained to her the
whole matter, and she  thinks we should take the carpet at

"Makillan's" was a store in the village, and the carpet was the only
one all the  family had liked without any doubt; but they had
supposed they might prefer one  from Boston.

The moment was a critical one. Solomon John was sent directly to
Makillan's to  order the carpet to be put down that very day. But
where should they dine? where  should they have their supper? and
where was Mr. Peterkin's "quiet hour" ?

Elizabeth Eliza was frantic; the dining-room floor and table were
covered with  things.

It was decided that Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin should dine at the
Bromwicks, who had  been most neighborly in their offers, and the
rest should get something to eat  at the baker's.

Agamemnon and Elizabeth Eliza hastened away to be ready to
receive the carts at  the other house, and direct the furniture as they
could. After all there was  something exhilarating in this opening
of the new house, and in deciding where  things should go. Gayly
Elizabeth Eliza stepped down the front garden of the new  home,
and across the piazza, and to the door. But it was locked, and she
had no  keys!

"Agamemnon, did you bring the keys?" she exclaimed.

No, he had not seen them since the morning,­when­ah!­yes, the
little boys were  allowed to go to the house for their india-rubber
boots, as there was a  threatening of rain. Perhaps they had left
some door unfastened­perhaps they had  put the keys under the
door-mat. No, each door, each window, was solidly closed,  and
there was no mat!

"I shall have to go to the school to see if they took the keys with
them," said  Agamemnon; "or else go home to see if they left them
there." The school was in a  different direction from the house, and
far at the other end of the town; for  Mr. Peterkin had not yet
changed the boys' school, as he proposed to do after  their move.

"That will be the only way," said Elizabeth Eliza; for it had been
arranged that  the little boys should take their lunch to school, and
not come home at noon.

She sat down on the steps to wait, but only for a moment, for the
carts soon  appeared, turning the corner. What should be done with
the furniture? Of course  the carters must wait for the keys, as she
should need them to set the furniture  up in the right places. But
they could not stop for this. They put it down upon  the piazza, on
the steps, in the garden, and Elizabeth Eliza saw how incongruous 
it was! There was something from every room in the house! Even
the large family  chest, which had proved too heavy for them to
travel with had come down from the  attic, and stood against the
front door.

And Solomon John appeared with the carpet woman, and a boy
with a wheelbarrow,  bringing the new carpet. And all stood and
waited. Some opposite neighbors  appeared to offer advice and
look on, and Elizabeth Eliza groaned inwardly that  only the
shabbiest of their furniture appeared to be standing full in view.

 It seemed ages before Agamemnon returned, and no wonder; for
he had been to the  house, then to the school, then back to the
house, for one of the little boys  had left the keys at home, in the
pocket of his clothes. Meanwhile the  carpet-woman had waited,
and the boy with the wheelbarrow had waited, and when  they got
in they found the parlor must be swept and cleaned. So the
carpet-woman  went off in dudgeon, for she was sure there would
not be time enough to do  anything.

And one of the carts came again, and in their hurry the men set the
furniture  down anywhere. Elizabeth Eliza was hoping to make a
little place in the  dining-room, where they might have their
supper, and go home to sleep. But she  looked out, and there were
the carters bringing the bedsteads, and proceeding to  carry them

In despair Elizabeth Eliza went back to the old house. If she had
been there she  might have prevented this. She found Mrs. Peterkin
in an agony about the entry  oil-cloth. It had been made in the
house, and how could it be taken out of the  house? Agamemnon
made measurements; it certainly could not go out of the front 
door! He suggested it might be left till the house was pulled down,
when it  could easily be moved out of one side. But Elizabeth Eliza
reminded him that the  whole house was to be moved without
being taken apart. Perhaps it could be cut  in strips narrow enough
to go out. One of the men loading the remaining cart  disposed of
the question by coming in and rolling up the oil-cloth and carrying 
it on on top of his wagon.

Elizabeth Eliza felt she must hurry back to the new house. But
what should they  do?­no beds here, no carpets there! The
dining-room table and sideboard were at  the other house, the
plates, and forks, and spoons here. In vain she looked at  her
programme. It was all reversed; everything was misplaced. Mr.
Peterkin would  suppose they were to eat here and sleep here, and
what had become of the little  boys?

Meanwhile the man with the first cart had returned. They fell to
packing the  dining-room china.

They were up in the attic, they were down in the cellar. Even one
suggested to  take the tacks out of the parlor carpets, as they
should want to take them next.

Mrs. Peterkin sunk upon a kitchen chair.

"Oh, I wish we had decided to stay and be moved in the house !"
she exclaimed.

Solomon John urged his mother to go to the new house, for Mr.
Peterkin would be  there for his "quiet hour." And when the carters
at last appeared, carrying the  parlor carpets on their shoulders, she
sighed and said, "There is nothing left,"

and meekly consented to be led away.

They reached the new house to find Mr. Peterkin sitting calmly in
a  rocking-chair on the piazza, watching the oxen coming into the
opposite barn. He  was waiting for the keys, which Solomon John
had taken back with him. The little  boys were in a horse-chestnut
tree, at the side of the house.

 Agamemnon opened the door. The passages were crowded with
furniture, the floors  were strewn with books; the bureau was
upstairs that was to stand in a lower  bedroom; there was not a
place to lay a table,­there was nothing to lay upon it;  for the
knives and plates and spoons had not come, and although the
tables were  there they were covered with chairs and boxes.

At this moment came a covered basket from the lady from
Philadelphia. It  contained a choice supper, and forks and spoons,
and at the same moment appeared  a pot of hot tea from an
opposite neighbor. They placed all this on the back of  a bookcase
lying upset, and sat around it. Solomon John came rushing in from
the  gate.

"The last load is coming! We are all moved!" he exclaimed; and
the little boys  joined in a chorus, "We are moved! we are moved!"

Mrs. Peterkin looked sadly round; the kitchen utensils were lying
on the parlor  lounge, and an old family gun on Elizabeth Eliza's
hat-box. The parlor clock  stood on a barrel; some coal-scuttles
had been placed on the parlor table, a  bust of Washington stood in
the door-way, and the looking-glasses leaned against  the pillars of
the piazza. But they were moved! Mrs. Peterkin felt, indeed, that 
they were very much moved.

CERTAINLY now was the time to study the languages. The
Peterkins had moved into  a new house, far more convenient than
their old one, where they would have a  place for everything and
everything in its place. Of course they would then have  more time.

Elizabeth Eliza recalled the troubles of the old house, how for a
long time she  was obliged to sit outside of the window upon the
piazza, when she wanted to  play on her piano.

Mrs. Peterkin reminded them of the difficulty about the
table-cloths. The upper  table-cloth was kept in a trunk that had to
stand in front of the door to the  closet under the stairs. But the
under table-cloth was kept in a drawer in the  closet. So, whenever
the cloths were changed, the trunk had to be pushed away  under
some projecting shelves to make room for opening the closet-door
(as the  under table-cloth must be taken out first), then the trunk
was pushed back to  make room for it to be opened for the upper
table-cloth, and, after all, it was  necessary to push the trunk away
again to open the closet-door for the  knife-tray. This always
consumed a great deal of time.

Now that the china-closet was large enough, everything could find
a place in it.

 Agamemnon especially enjoyed the new library. In the old house
there was no  separate room for books. The dictionaries were kept
upstairs, which was very  inconvenient, and the volumes of the
Encyclopædia could not be together. There  was not room for all in
one place. So from A to P were to be found downstairs,  and from
Q to Z were scattered in different rooms upstairs. And the worst of
it  was, you could never remember whether from A to P included
P. "I always went  upstairs after P," said Agamemnon, "and then
always found it downstairs, or else  it was the other way."

Of course now there were more conveniences for study. With the
books all in one  room, there would be no time wasted in looking
for them.

Mr. Peterkin suggested they should each take a separate language.
If they went  abroad, this would prove a great convenience.
Elizabeth Eliza could talk French  with the Parisians; Agamemnon,
German with the Germans; Solomon John, Italian  with the
Italians; Mrs. Peterkin, Spanish in Spain; and perhaps he could
himself  master all the Eastern Languages and Russian.

Mrs. Peterkin was uncertain about undertaking the Spanish, but all
the family  felt very sure they should not go to Spain (as Elizabeth
Eliza dreaded the  Inquisition), and Mrs. Peterkin felt more

Still she had quite an objection to going abroad. She had always
said she would  not go till a bridge was made across the Atlantic,
and she was sure it did not  look like it now.

Agamemnon said there was no knowing. There was something
new every day, and a  bridge was surely not harder to invent than a
telephone, for they had bridges in  the very earliest days.

Then came up the question of the teachers. Probably these could
be found in  Boston. If they could all come the same day, three
could be brought out in the  carryall. Agamemnon could go in for
them, and could learn a little on the way  out and in.

Mr. Peterkin made some inquiries about the Oriental languages.
He was told that  Sanscrit was at the root of all. So he proposed
they should all begin with  Sanscrit. They would thus require but
one teacher, and could branch out into the  other languages

But the family preferred learning the separate languages. Elizabeth
Eliza  already knew something of the French. She had tried to talk
it, without much  success, at the Centennial Exhibition, at one of
the side-stands. But she found  she had been talking with a
Moorish gentleman who did not understand French. Mr.

Peterkin feared they might need more libraries, if all the teachers
came at the  same hour; but Agamemnon reminded him that they
would be using different  dictionaries. And Mr. Peterkin thought
something might be learned by having them  all at once. Each one
might pick up something beside the language he was  studying,
and it was a great thing to learn to talk a foreign language while 
others were talking about you. Mrs. Peterkin was afraid it would
be like the  Tower of Babel, and hoped it was all right.

Agamemnon brought forward another difficulty. Of course they
ought to have  foreign teachers, who spoke only their native
languages. But, in this case, how  could they engage them to come,
or explain to them about the carryall, or  arrange the proposed
hours? He did not understand how anybody ever began with a 
foreigner, because he could not even tell him what he wanted.

Elizabeth Eliza thought a great deal might be done by signs and

Solomon John and the little boys began to show how it might be
done. Elizabeth  Eliza explained how "langues " meant both
"languages" and "tongues," and they  could point to their tongues.
For practice, the little boys represented the  foreign teachers
talking in their different languages, and Agamemnon and Solomon 
John went to invite them to come out, and teach the family by a
series of signs.

 Mr. Peterkin thought their success was admirable, and that they
might almost go  abroad without any study of the languages, and
trust to explaining themselves by  signs. Still, as the bridge was not
yet made, it might be as well to wait and  cultivate the languages.

Mrs. Peterkin was afraid the foreign teachers might imagine they
were invited  out to lunch. Solomon John had constantly pointed to
his mouth as he opened it  and shut it, putting out his tongue; and
it looked a great deal more as if he  were inviting them to eat, than
asking them to teach. Agamemnon suggested that  they might carry
the separate dictionaries when they went to see the teachers,  and
that would show that they meant lessons, and not lunch.

Mrs. Peterkin was not sure but she ought to prepare a lunch for
them, if they  had come all that way; but she certainly did not
know what they were accustomed  to eat.

Mr. Peterkin thought this would be a good thing to learn of the
foreigners. It  would be a good preparation for going abroad, and
they might get used to the  dishes before starting. The little boys
were delighted at the idea of having new  things cooked.
Agamemnon had heard that beer-soup was a favorite dish with the 
Germans, and he would inquire how it was made in the first
lesson. Solomon John  had heard they were all very fond of garlic,
and thought it would be a pretty  attention to have some in the
house the first day, that they might be cheered by  the odor.

Elizabeth Eliza wanted to surprise the lady from Philadelphia by
her knowledge  of French, and hoped to begin on her lessons
before the Philadelphia family  arrived for their annual visit.

There were still some delays. Mr. Peterkin was very anxious to
obtain teachers  who had been but a short time in this country. He
did not want to be tempted to  talk any English with them. He
wanted the latest and freshest languages, and at  last came home
one day with a list of "brand-new foreigners."

They decided to borrow the Bromwicks' carryall to use, beside
their own, for the  first day, and Mr. Peterkin and Agamemnon
drove into town to bring all the  teachers out. One was a Russian
gentleman, travelling, who came with no idea of  giving lessons,
but perhaps he would consent to do so. He could not yet speak 

Mr. Peterkin had his card-case, and the cards of the several
gentlemen who had  recommended the different teachers, and he
went with Agamemnon from hotel to  hotel collecting them. He
found them all very polite, and ready to come, after  the
explanation by signs agreed upon. The dictionaries had been
forgotten, but  Agamemnon had a directory, which looked the
same, and seemed to satisfy the  foreigners.

 Mr. Peterkin was obliged to content himself with the Russian
instead of one who  could teach Sanscrit, as there was no new
teacher of that language lately  arrived.

But there was an unexpected difficulty in getting the Russian
gentleman into the  same carriage with the teacher of Arabic, for
he was a Turk, sitting with a fez  on his head, on the back seat!
They glared at each other, and began to assail  each other in every
language they knew, none of which Mr. Peterkin could 
understand. It might be Russian, it might be Arabic. It was easy to
understand  that they would never consent to sit in the same
carriage. Mr. Peterkin was in  despair; he had forgotten about the
Russian war! What a mistake to have invited  the Turk!

 Quite a crowd collected on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. But
the French  gentleman politely, but stiffly, invited the Russian to
go with him in the first  carryall. Here was another difficulty. For
the German professor was quietly  ensconced on the back seat! As
soon as the French gentleman put his foot on the  step and saw
him, he addressed him in such forcible language that the German 
professor got out of the door the other side, and came round on the
sidewalk,  and took him by the collar. Certainly the German and
French gentlemen could not  be put together, and more crowd

 Agamemnon, however, had happily studied up the German word
"Herr," and he  applied it to the German, inviting him by signs to
take a seat in the other  carryall. The German consented to sit by
the Turk, as they neither of them could  understand the other; and
at last they started, Mr. Peterkin with the Italian by  his side, and
the French and Russian teachers behind, vociferating to each other 
in languages unknown to Mr. Peterkin, while he feared they were
not perfectly in  harmony, so he drove home as fast as possible.
Agamemnon had a silent party. The  Spaniard by his side was a
little moody, while the Turk and the German behind  did not utter
a word.

 At last they reached the house, and were greeted by Mrs. Peterkin
and Elizabeth  Eliza, Mrs. Peterkin with her llama lace shawl over
her shoulders, as a tribute  to the Spanish teacher. Mr. Peterkin
was careful to take his party in first, and  deposit them in a distant
part of the library, far from the Turk or the German,  even putting
the Frenchman and Russian apart.

Solomon John found the Italian dictionary, and seated himself by
his Italian;  Agamemnon, with the German dictionary, by the
German. The little boys took their  copy of the "Arabian Nights" to
the Turk. Mr. Peterkin attempted to explain to  the Russian that he
had no Russian dictionary, as he had hoped to learn Sanscrit  of
him, while Mrs. Peterkin was trying to inform her teacher that she
had no  books in Spanish. She got over all fears of the Inquisition,
he looked so sad,  and she tried to talk a little, using English
words, but very slowly, and  altering the accent as far as she knew
how. The Spaniard bowed, looked gravely  interested, and was
very polite.

 Elizabeth Eliza, meanwhile, was trying her grammar phrases with
the Parisian.

She found it easier to talk French than to understand him. But he
understood  perfectly her sentences. She repeated one of her
vocabularies, and went on  with­"J'ai le livre." "As-tu le pain? "
"L'enfant a une poire." He listened with  great attention, and
replied slowly. Suddenly she started after making out one  of his
sentences, and went to her mother to whisper, "They have made
the mistake  you feared. They think they are invited to lunch! He
has just been thanking me  for our politeness in inviting them to
déjeûner,­that means breakfast!"

"They have not had their breakfast!" exclaimed Mrs. Peterkin,
looking at her  Spaniard; "he does look hungry! What shall we

 Elizabeth Eliza was consulting her father. What should they do?
How should they  make them understand that they invited them to
teach, not lunch. Elizabeth Eliza  begged Agamemnon to look out
"apprendre " in the dictionary. It must mean to  teach. Alas, they
found it means both to teach and to learn! What should they  do?
The foreigners were now sitting silent in their different corners.
The  Spaniard grew more and more sallow. What if he should
faint? The Frenchman was  rolling up each of his mustaches to a
point as he gazed at the German. What if  the Russian should fight
the Turk? What if the German should be exasperated by  the airs of
the Parisian?

"We must give them something to eat," said Mr. Peterkin, in a low
tone. "It  would calm them."

"If I only knew what they were used to eating," said Mrs. Peterkin.

Solomon John suggested that none of them knew what the others
were used to  eating, and they might bring in anything.

Mrs. Peterkin hastened out with hospitable intents. Amanda could
make good  coffee. Mr. Peterkin had suggested some American
dish. Solomon John sent a  little boy for some olives.

It was not long before the coffee came in, and a dish of baked
beans. Next, some  olives and a loaf of bread, and some boiled
eggs, and some bottles of beer. The  effect was astonishing. Every
man spoke his own tongue, and fluently. Mrs.

Peterkin poured out coffee for the Spaniard, while he bowed to
her. They all  liked beer, they all liked olives. The Frenchman was
fluent about "les moeurs  Américaines." Elizabeth Eliza supposed
he alluded to their not having set any  table. The Turk smiled, the
Russian was voluble. In the midst of the clang of  the different
languages, just as Mr. Peterkin was again repeating, under cover 
of the noise of many tongues, "How shall we make them
understand that we want  them to teach?"­at this very moment the
door was flung open, and there came in  the lady from
Philadelphia, that day arrived, her first call of the season!

She started back in terror at the tumult of so many different
languages! The  family, with joy, rushed to meet her. All together
they called upon her to  explain for them. Could she help them?
Could she tell the foreigners they wanted  to take lessons?
Lessons? They had no sooner uttered the word than their guests  all
started up with faces beaming with joy. It was the one English
word they all  knew! They had come to Boston to give lessons!
The Russian traveller had hoped  to learn English in this way. The
thought pleased them more than the déjeûner.

Yes, gladly would they give lessons. The Turk smiled at the idea.
The first step  was taken. The teachers knew they were expected to

AGAMEMNON felt that it became necessary for him to choose a
profession. It was  important on account of the little boys. If he
should make a trial of several  different professions he could find
out which would be the most likely to be  successful, and it would
then be easy to bring up the little boys in the right  direction.

Elizabeth Eliza agreed with this. She thought the family
occasionally made  mistakes, and had come near disgracing
themselves. Now was their chance to avoid  this in future by giving
the little boys a proper education.

Solomon John was almost determined to become a doctor. From
earliest childhood  he had practiced writing recipes on little slips
of paper. Mrs. Peterkin, to be  sure, was afraid of infection. She
could not bear the idea of his bringing one  disease after the other
into the family circle. Solomon John, too, did not like  sick people.
He thought he might manage it if he should not have to see his 
patients while they were sick. If he could only visit them when
they were  recovering, and when the danger of infection was over,
he would really enjoy  making calls.

 He should have a comfortable doctor's chaise, and take one of the
little boys  to hold his horse while he went in, and he thought he
could get through the  conversational part very well, and feeling
the pulse, perhaps looking at the  tongue. He should take and read
all the newspapers, and so be thoroughly  acquainted with the
news of the day to talk of. But he should not like to be  waked up
at night to visit. Mr. Peterkin thought that would not be necessary.
He  had seen signs on doors of "Night Doctor," and certainly it
would be as  convenient to have a sign of "Not a Night Doctor."

Solomon John thought he might write his advice to those of his
patients who were  dangerously ill, from whom there was danger
of infection. And then Elizabeth  Eliza agreed that his
prescriptions would probably be so satisfactory that they  would
keep his patients well,­not too well to do without a doctor, but
needing  his recipes.

Agamemnon was delayed, however, in his choice of a profession,
by a desire he  had to become a famous inventor. If he could only
invent something important,  and get out a patent, he would make
himself known all over the country. If he  could get out a patent he
would be set up for life, or at least as long as the  patent lasted, and
it would be well to be sure to arrange it to last through his  natural

Indeed, he had gone so far as to make his invention. It had been
suggested by  their trouble with a key, in their late moving to their
new house. He had  studied the matter over a great deal. He looked
it up in the Encyclopædia, and  had spent a day or two in the Public
Library, in reading about Chubb's Lock and  other patent locks.

 But his plan was more simple. It was this: that all keys should be
made alike !

He wondered it had not been thought of before; but so it was,
Solomon John said,  with all inventions, with Christopher
Columbus, and everybody. Nobody knew the  invention till it was
invented, and then it looked very simple. With Agamemnon's  plan
you need have but one key, that should fit everything! It should be
a  medium-sized key, not too large to carry. It ought to answer for
a house door,  but you might open a portmanteau with it. How
much less danger there would be of  losing one's keys if there were
only one to lose!

Mrs. Peterkin thought it would be inconvenient if their father were
out, and she  wanted to open the jam-closet for the little boys. But
Agamemnon explained that  he did not mean there should be but
one key in the family, or in a town,­you  might have as many as
you pleased, only they should all be alike.

 Elizabeth Eliza felt it would be a great convenience,­they could
keep the front  door always locked, yet she could open it with the
key of her upper drawer; that  she was sure to have with her. And
Mrs. Peterkin felt it might be a convenience  if they had one on
each story, so that they need not go up and down for it.

Mr. Peterkin studied all the papers and advertisements, to decide
about the  lawyer whom they should consult, and at last, one
morning, they went into town  to visit a patent-agent.

Elizabeth Eliza took the occasion to make a call upon the lady
from  Philadelphia, but she came back hurriedly to her mother.

"I have had a delightful call," she said; "but­perhaps I was wrong­I
could not  help, in conversation, speaking of Agamemnon's
proposed patent. I ought not to  have mentioned it, as such things
are kept profound secrets; they say women  always do tell things; I
suppose that is the reason."

"But where is the harm? " asked Mrs. Peterkin. " I'm sure you can
trust the lady  from Philadelphia."

Elizabeth Eliza then explained that the lady from Philadelphia had
questioned  the plan a little when it was told her, and had
suggested that " if everybody  had the same key there would be no
particular use in a lock."

 "Did you explain to her," said Mrs. Peterkin, "that we were not all
to have the  same keys? "

"I couldn't quite understand her," said Elizabeth Eliza, "but she
seemed to  think that burglars and other people might come in if
the keys were the same."

"Agamemnon would not sell his patent to burglars!" said Mrs.
Peterkin,  indignantly.

"But about other people," said Elizabeth Eliza; "there is my upper
drawer; the  little boys might open it at Christmas-time,­and their
presents in it!"

"And I am not sure that I could trust Amanda," said Mrs. Peterkin,

 Both she and Elizabeth Eliza felt that Mr. Peterkin ought to know
what the lady  from Philadelphia had suggested. Elizabeth Eliza
then proposed going into town,  but it would take so long she
might not reach them in time. A telegram would be  better, and she
ventured to suggest using the Telegraph Alarm.

For, on moving into their new house, they had discovered it was
provided with  all the modern improvements. This had been a
disappointment to Mrs. Peterkin,  for she was afraid of them, since
their experience the last winter, when their  water-pipes were
frozen up. She had been originally attracted to the house by an  old
pump at the side, which had led her to believe there were no
modern  improvements. It had pleased the little boys, too. They
liked to pump the handle  up and down, and agreed to pump all the
water needed, and bring it into the  house.

 There was an old well, with a picturesque well-sweep, in a corner
by the barn.

Mrs. Peterkin was frightened by this at first. She was afraid the
little boys  would be falling in every day. And they showed great
fondness for pulling the  bucket up and down. It proved, however,
that the well was dry. There was no  water in it; so she had some
moss thrown down, and an old feather-bed, for  safety, and the old
well was a favorite place of amusement.

The house, it had proved, was well furnished with bath-rooms, and

everywhere. Water-pipes and gas-pipes all over the house; and a
hack-,  telegraph-, and fire-alarm, with a little knob for each.

Mrs. Peterkin was very anxious. She feared the little boys would
be summoning  somebody all the time, and it was decided to
conceal from them the use of the  knobs, and the card of directions
at the side was destroyed. Agamemnon had made  one of his first
inventions to help this. He had arranged a number of similar 
knobs to be put in rows in different parts of the house, to appear as
if they  were intended for ornament, and had added some to the
original knobs. Mrs.

Peterkin felt more secure, and Agamemnon thought of taking out a
patent for this  invention.

It was, therefore, with some doubt that Elizabeth Eliza proposed
sending a  telegram to her father. Mrs. Peterkin, however, was
pleased with the idea.

Solomon John was out, and the little boys were at school, and she
herself would  touch the knob, while Elizabeth Eliza should write
the telegram.

"I think it is the fourth knob from the beginning," she said, looking
at one of  the rows of knobs.

 Elizabeth Eliza was sure of this. Agamemnon, she believed, had
put three extra  knobs at each end.

"But which is the end, and which is the beginning, ­the top or the
bottom?" Mrs.

Peterkin asked hopelessly.

Still she bravely selected a knob, and Elizabeth Eliza hastened
with her to look  out for the messenger. How soon should they see
the telegraph boy?

They seemed to have scarcely reached the window, when a terrible
noise was  heard, and down the shady street the white horses of the
fire-brigade were seen  rushing at a fatal speed!

It was a terrific moment!

"I have touched the fire-alarm," Mrs. Peterkin exclaimed.

Both rushed to open the front door in agony. By this time the
fire-engines were  approaching.

"Do not be alarmed," said the chief engineer; "the furniture shall
be carefully  covered, and we will move all that is necessary."

"Move again!" exclaimed Mrs. Peterkin, in agony.

Elizabeth Eliza strove to explain that she was only sending a
telegram to her  father, who was in Boston.

 "It is not important," said the head engineer; "the fire will all be
out before  it could reach him."

And he ran upstairs, for the engines were beginning to play upon
the roof.

Mrs. Peterkin rushed to the knobs again hurriedly; there was more
necessity for  summoning Mr. Peterkin home.

"Write a telegram to your father," she said to Elizabeth Eliza, "to
'come home  directly.'"

"That will take but three words," said Elizabeth Eliza, with
presence of mind,  "and we need ten. I was just trying to make
them out."

 "What has come now?" exclaimed Mrs. Peterkin, and they hurried
again to the  window, to see a row of carriages coming down the

"I must have touched the carriage-knob," cried Mrs. Peterkin, "and
I pushed it  half-a-dozen times I felt so anxious!"

Six hacks stood before the door. All the village boys were
assembling. Even  their own little boys had returned from school,
and were showing the firemen the  way to the well.

Again Mrs. Peterkin rushed to the knobs, and a fearful sound
arose. She had  touched the burglar-alarm !

 The former owner of the house, who had a great fear of burglars,
had invented a  machine of his own, which he had connected with
a knob. A wire attached to the  knob moved a spring that could put
in motion a number of watchmen's rattles,  hidden under the eaves
of the piazza.

All these were now set a-going, and their terrible din roused those
of the  neighborhood who had not before assembled around the
house. At this moment  Elizabeth Eliza met the chief engineer.

"You need not send for more help," he said; "we have all the
engines in town  here, and have stirred up all the towns in the
neighborhood; there's no use in  springing any more alarms. I can't
find the fire yet, but we have water pouring  all over the house."

Elizabeth Eliza waved her telegram in the air.

"We are only trying to send a telegram to my father and brother,
who are in  town," she endeavored to explain.

"If it is necessary," said the chief engineer, "you might send it
down in one of  the hackney carriages. I see a number standing
before the door. We'd better  begin to move the heavier furniture,
and some of you women might fill the  carriages with smaller

Mrs. Peterkin was ready to fall into hysterics. She controlled
herself with a  supreme power, and hastened to touch another

 Elizabeth Eliza corrected her telegram, and decided to take the
advice of the  chief engineer and went to the door to give her
message to one of the hackmen,  when she saw a telegraph boy
appear. Her mother had touched the right knob. It  was the fourth
from the beginning; but the beginning was at the other end!

She went out to meet the boy, when, to her joy, she saw behind
him her father  and Agamemnon. She clutched her telegram, and
hurried toward them.

Mr. Peterkin was bewildered. Was the house on fire? If so, where
were the  flames?

He saw the row of carriages. Was there a funeral, or a wedding?
Who was dead?

Who was to be married?

He seized the telegram that Elizabeth Eliza reached to him, and
read it aloud.

"Come to us directly­the house is NOT on fire!"

The chief engineer was standing on the steps.

"The house not on fire!" he exclaimed. "What are we all
summoned for?"

"It is a mistake," cried Elizabeth Eliza, wringing her hands. "We
touched the  wrong knob; we wanted the telegraph boy! "

"We touched all the wrong knobs," exclaimed Mrs. Peterkin, from
the house.

The chief engineer turned directly to give counter-directions, with
a few  exclamations of disgust, as the bells of distant fire-engines
were heard  approaching.

Solomon John appeared at this moment, and proposed taking one
of the carriages,  and going for a doctor for his mother, for she was
now nearly ready to fall into  hysterics, and Agamemnon thought
to send a telegram down by the boy, for the  evening papers, to
announce that the Peterkins' house had not been on fire.

The crisis of the commotion had reached its height. The beds of
flowers,  bordered with dark-colored leaves, were trodden down by
the feet of the crowd  that had assembled.

The chief engineer grew more and more indignant, as he sent his
men to order  back the fire-engines from the neighboring towns.
The collection of boys  followed the procession as it went away.
The fire-brigade hastily removed covers  from some of the
furniture, restored the rest to their places, and took away  their
ladders. Many neighbors remained, but Mr. Peterkin hastened into
the house  to attend to Mrs. Peterkin.

Elizabeth Eliza took an opportunity to question her father, before
he went in,  as to the success of their visit to town.

"We saw all the patent-agents," answered Mr. Peterkin, in a hollow
whisper. "Not  one of them will touch the patent, or have anything
to do with it."

Elizabeth Eliza looked at Agamemnon, as he walked silently into
the house. She  would not now speak to him of the patent; but she
recalled some words of Solomon  John. When they were
discussing the patent he had said that many an inventor had  grown
gray before his discovery was acknowledged by the public. Others
might  reap the harvest, but it came, perhaps, only when he was
going to his grave.

Elizabeth Eliza looked at Agamemnon reverently, and followed
him silently into  the house.

 AGAMEMNON'S CAREER.  THERE had apparently been some
mistake in Agamemnon's education. He had been to  a number of
colleges, indeed, but he had never completed his course in any

He had continually fallen into some difficulty with the authorities.
It was  singular, for he was of an inquiring mind, and had always
tried to find out what  would be expected of him, but had never hit
upon the right thing.

Solomon John thought the trouble might be in what they called the
elective  system, where you were to choose what study you might
take. This had always  bewildered Agamemnon a good deal.

"And how was a feller to tell," Solomon John had asked, "whether
he wanted to  study a thing before he tried it? It might turn out
awful hard!"

Agamemnon had always been fond of reading, from his childhood
up. He was at his  book all day long. Mrs Peterkin had imagined he
would come out a great scholar,  because she could never get him
away from his books.

And so it was in his colleges; he was always to be found in the
library, reading  and reading. But they were always the wrong

For instance: the class were required to prepare themselves on the
Spartan war.

This turned Agamemnon's attention to the Fenians, and to study
the subject he  read up on "Charles O'Malley," and "Harry
Lorrequer," and some later novels of  that sort, which did not help
him on the subject required, yet took up all his  time, so that he
found himself unfitted for anything else when the examinations 
came. In consequence he was requested to leave.

Agamemnon always missed in his recitations, for the same reason
that Elizabeth  Eliza did not get on in school, because he was
always asked the questions he did  not know. It seemed provoking;
if the professors had only asked something else!

But they always hit upon the very things he had not studied up.

Mrs. Peterkin felt this was encouraging, for Agamemnon knew the
things they did  not know in colleges. In colleges they were willing
to take for students only  those who already knew certain things.
She thought Agamemnon might be a  professor in a college for
those students who didn't know those things.

"I suppose these professors could not have known a great deal,"
she added, "or  they would not have asked you so many questions;
they would have told you  something."

Agamemnon had left another college on account of a mistake he
had made with some  of his classmates. They had taken a great
deal of trouble to bring some wood  from a distant wood-pile to
make a bonfire with, under one of the professors'  windows.
Agamemnon had felt it would be a compliment to the professor.

It was with bonfires that heroes had been greeted on their return
from  successful wars. In this way beacon-lights had been kindled
upon lofty heights,  that had inspired mariners seeking their homes
after distant adventures. As he  plodded back and forward he
imagined himself some hero of antiquity. He was  reading
"Plutarch's Lives" with deep interest. This had been recommended
at a  former college, and he was now taking it up in the midst of
his French course.

He fancied, even, that some future Plutarch was growing up in
Lynn, perhaps, who  would write of this night of suffering, and
glorify its heroes.

For himself he took a severe cold and suffered from chilblains, in
consequence  of going back and forward through the snow,
carrying the wood.

But the flames of the bonfire caught the blinds of the professor's
room, and set  fire to the building, and came near burning up the
whole institution. Agamemnon  regretted the result as much as his
predecessor, who gave him his name, must  have regretted that
other bonfire, on the shores of Aulis, that deprived him of  a

The result for Agamemnon was that he was requested to leave,
after having been  in the institution but a few months.

He left another college in consequence of a misunderstanding
about the hour for  morning prayers. He went every day regularly
at ten o'clock, but found,  afterward, that he should have gone at
half-past six. This hour seemed to him  and to Mrs. Peterkin
unseasonable, at a time of year when the sun was not up,  and he
would have been obliged to go to the expense of candles.

Agamemnon was always willing to try another college, wherever
he could be  admitted. He wanted to attain knowledge, however it
might be found. But, after  going to five, and leaving each before
the year was out, he gave it up.

 He determined to lay out the money that would have been
expended in a  collegiate education in buying an Encyclopædia, the
most complete that he could  find, and to spend his life studying it
systematically. He would not content  himself with merely reading
it, but he would study into each subject as it came  up, and perfect
himself in that subject. By the time, then, that he had finished  the
Encyclopædia he should have embraced all knowledge, and have
experienced  much of it.

The family were much interested in this plan of making practice of
every subject  that came up.

He did not, of course, get on very fast in this way. In the second
column of the  very first page he met with A as a note in music.
This led him to the study of  music. He bought a flute, and took
some lessons, and attempted to accompany  Elizabeth Eliza on the
piano. This, of course, distracted him from his work on  the
Encyclopædia. But he did not wish to return to A until he felt
perfect in  music. This required a long time.

Then in this same paragraph a reference was made; in it he was
requested to "see  Keys." It was necessary, then, to turn to "Keys."
This was about the time the  family were moving, which we have
mentioned, when the difficult subject of keys  came up, that
suggested to him his own simple invention, and the hope of getting 
a patent for it. This led him astray, as inventions before have done
with  master-minds, so that he was drawn aside from his regular

The family, however, were perfectly satisfied with the career
Agamemnon had  chosen. It would help them all, in any path of
life, if he should master the  Encyclopædia in a thorough way.

Mr. Peterkin agreed it would in the end be not as expensive as a
college course,  even if Agamemnon should buy all the different
Encyclopædias that appeared.

There would be no "spreads" involved; no expense of receiving
friends at  entertainments in college; he could live at home, so that
it would not be  necessary to fit up another room, as at college. At
all the times of his leaving  he had sold out favorably to other

Solomon John's destiny was more uncertain. He was looking
forward to being a  doctor some time, but he had not decided
whether to be allopathic or  homeopathic, or whether he could not
better invent his own pills. And he could  not understand how to
obtain his doctor's degree.

For a few weeks he acted as clerk in a druggist's store. But he
could serve only  in the toothbrush and soap department, because it
was found he was not familiar  enough with the Latin language to
compound the drugs. He agreed to spend his  evenings in studying
the Latin grammar; but his course was interrupted by his  being
dismissed for treating the little boys too frequently to soda.

 The little boys were going through the schools regularly. The
family had been  much exercised with regard to their education.
Elizabeth Eliza felt that  everything should be expected from them;
they ought to take advantage from the  family mistakes. Every new
method that came up was tried upon the little boys.

They had been taught spelling by all the different systems, and
were just able  to read, when Mr. Peterkin learned that it was now
considered best that children  should not be taught to read till they
were ten years old.

Mrs. Peterkin was in despair. Perhaps, if their books were taken
from them even  then, they might forget what they had learned.
But no, the evil was done; the  brain had received certain
impressions that could not be blurred over.

 This was long ago, however. The little boys had since entered the
public  schools. They went also to a gymnasium, and a whittling
school, and joined a  class in music, and another in dancing; they
went to some afternoon lectures for  children, when there was no
other school, and belonged to a walking-club. Still  Mr. Peterkin
was dissatisfied by the slowness of their progress. He visited the 
schools himself, and found that they did not lead their classes. It
seemed to  him a great deal of time was spent in things that were
not instructive, such as  putting on and taking off their india-rubber

Elizabeth Eliza proposed that they should be taken from school
and taught by  Agamemnon from the Encyclopædia. The rest of the
family might help in the  education at all hours of the day.
Solomon John could take up the Latin grammar,  and she could
give lessons in French.

The little boys were enchanted with the plan, only they did not
want to have the  study-hours all the time.

Mr. Peterkin, however, had a magnificent idea, that they should
make their life  one grand Object Lesson. They should begin at
breakfast, and study everything  put upon the table,­the material of
which it was made, and where it came from.

In the study of the letter A, Agamemnon had embraced the study
of music, and  from one meal they might gain instruction enough
for a day.

"We shall have the assistance," said Mr. Peterkin, "of
Agamemnon, with his  Encyclopædia."

Agamemnon modestly suggested that he had not yet got out of A,
and in their  first breakfast everything would therefore have to
begin with A.

"That would not be impossible," said Mr. Peterkin. "There is
Amanda, who will  wait on table, to start with­"

"We could have 'am-and-eggs," suggested Solomon John  Mrs.
Peterkin was distressed. It was hard enough to think of anything
for  breakfast, and impossible, if it all had to begin with one letter.

Elizabeth Eliza thought it would not be necessary. All they were to
do was to  ask questions, as in examination papers, and find their
answers as they could.

They could still apply to the Encyclopædia, even if it were not in
Agamemnon's  alphabetical course.

 Mr. Peterkin suggested a great variety. One day they would study
the botany of  the breakfast-table, another day, its natural history.
The study of butter would  include that of the cow. Even that of
the butter-dish would bring in geology.

The little boys were charmed at the idea of learning pottery from
the cream-jug,  and they were promised a potter's wheel directly.

"You see, my dear," said Mr. Peterkin to his wife, "before many
weeks, we shall  be drinking our milk from jugs made by our

 Elizabeth Eliza hoped for a thorough study.

"Yes," said Mr. Peterkin, "we might begin with botany. That would
be near to  Agamemnon alphabetically. We ought to find out the
botany of butter. On what  does the cow feed?"

The little boys were eager to go out and see.

"If she eats clover," said Mr. Peterkin, "we shall expect the botany
of clover."

 The little boys insisted that they were to begin the next day; that
very evening  they should go out and study the cow.

Mrs. Peterkin sighed, and decided she would order a simple
breakfast. The little  boys took their note-books and pencils, and
clambered upon the fence, where they  seated themselves in a row.

For there were three little boys. So it was now supposed. They
were always  coming in or going out, and it had been difficult to
count them, and nobody was  very sure how many there were.

There they sat, however, on the fence, looking at the cow. She
looked at them  with large eyes.

"She won't eat," they cried, "while we are looking at her!"

So they turned about, and pretended to look into the street, and
seated  themselves that way, turning their heads back, from time to
time, to see the  cow.

"Now she is nibbling a clover."

"No, that is a bit of sorrel."

"It's a whole handful of grass."

"What kind of grass?" they exclaimed.

It was very hard, sitting with their backs to the cow, and
pretending to the cow  that they were looking into the street, and
yet to be looking at the cow all the  time, and finding out what she
was eating; and the upper rail of the fence was  narrow and a little
sharp. It was very high, too, for some additional rails had  been put
on to prevent the cow from jumping into the garden or street.

 Suddenly, looking out into the hazy twilight, Elizabeth Eliza saw
six legs and  six india-rubber boots in the air, and the little boys

"They are tossed by the cow! The little boys are tossed by the

Mrs. Peterkin rushed for the window, but fainted on the way.
Solomon John and  Elizabeth Eliza were hurrying to the door, but
stopped, not knowing what to do  next. Mrs. Peterkin recovered
herself with a supreme effort, and sent them out  to the rescue.

But what could they do? The fence had been made so high, to keep
the cow out,  that nobody could get in. The boy that did the
milking had gone off with the key  of the outer gate, and perhaps
with the key of the shed door. Even if that were  not locked, before
Agamemnon could get round by the wood-shed and cow-shed, the 
little boys might be gored through and through!

Elizabeth Eliza ran to the neighbors, Solomon John to the
druggist's for  plasters, while Agamemnon made his way through
the dining-room to the wood-shed  and outer-shed door. Mr.
Peterkin mounted the outside of the fence, while Mrs.

Peterkin begged him not to put himself in danger. He climbed high
enough to view  the scene. He held to the corner post and reported
what he saw.

They were not gored. The cow was at the other end of the lot. One
of the little  boys were lying in a bunch of dark leaves. He was

The cow glared, but did not stir. Another little boy was pulling his 
india-rubber boots out of the mud. The cow still looked at him.

Another was feeling the top of his head. The cow began to crop the
grass, still  looking at him.

Agamemnon had reached and opened the shed-door. The little
boys were next seen  running toward it.

A crowd of neighbors, with pitchforks, had returned meanwhile
with Elizabeth  Eliza. Solomon John had brought four druggists.
But, by the time they had  reached the house, the three little boys
were safe in the arms of their mother!

"This is too dangerous a form of education," she cried; "I had
rather they went  to school."

"No!" they bravely cried. They were still willing to try the other

nerves were so shaken by the excitement of the fall of the  three
little boys into the enclosure where the cow was kept that the
educational  breakfast was long postponed. The little boys
continued at school, as before,  and the conversation dwelt as little
as possible upon the subject of education.

Mrs. Peterkin's spirits, however, gradually recovered. The little
boys were  allowed to watch the cow at her feed. A series of
strings were arranged by  Agamemnon and Solomon John, by
which the little boys could be pulled up, if they  should again fall
down into the enclosure. These were planned something like 
curtain-cords, and Solomon John frequently amused himself by
pulling one of the  little boys up or letting him down.

Some conversation did again fall upon the old difficulty of
questions. Elizabeth  Eliza declared that it was not always
necessary to answer; that many who could  did not answer
questions,­the conductors of the railroads, for instance, who 
probably knew the names of all the stations on a road, but were
seldom able to  tell them.

"Yes," said Agamemnon, "one might be a conductor without even
knowing the names  of the stations, because you can't understand
them when they do tell them!"

"I never know," said Elizabeth Eliza, "whether it is ignorance in
them, or  unwillingness, that prevents them from telling you how
soon one station is  coming, or how long you are to stop, even if
one asks ever so many times. It  would be useful if they would

 Mrs. Peterkin thought this was carried too far in the horse-cars in
Boston. The  conductors had always left you as far as possible
from the place where you  wanted to stop; but it seemed a little too
much to have the aldermen take it up,  and put a notice in the cars,
ordering the conductors "to stop at the farthest  crossing."

Mrs. Peterkin was, indeed, recovering her spirits. She had been
carrying on a  brisk correspondence with Philadelphia, that she had
imparted to no one, and at  last she announced, as its result, that
she was ready for a breakfast on  educational principles.

A breakfast indeed, when it appeared! Mrs. Peterkin had mistaken
the  alphabetical suggestion, and had grasped the idea that the
whole alphabet must  be represented in one breakfast.

This, therefore, was the bill of fare: Apple-sauce, Bread, Butter,
Coffee,  Cream, Doughnuts, Eggs, Fish-balls, Griddles, Ham, Ice
(on butter), Jam, Krout  (sour), Lamb-chops, Morning Newspapers,
Oatmeal, Pepper, Quince-marmalade,  Rolls, Salt, Tea Urn,
Veal-pie, Waffles, Yeast-biscuit.

Mr. Peterkin was proud and astonished. "Excellent!" he cried.
"Every letter  represented except Z." Mrs. Peterkin drew from her
pocket a letter from the lady  from Philadelphia. "She thought you
would call it X-cellent for X, and she tells  us," she read, "that if
you come with a zest, you will bring the Z."

Mr. Peterkin was enchanted. He only felt that he ought to invite
the children in  the primary schools to such a breakfast; what a
zest, indeed, it would give to  the study of their letters!

It was decided to begin with Apple-sauce.

"How happy," exclaimed Mr. Peterkin, "that this should come first
of all! A  child might be brought up on apple-sauce till he had
mastered the first letter  of the alphabet, and could go on to the
more involved subjects hidden in bread,  butter, baked beans, etc."

Agamemnon thought his father hardly knew how much was hidden
in the apple. There  was all the story of William Tell and the Swiss
independence. The little boys  were wild to act William Tell, but
Mrs. Peterkin was afraid of the arrows. Mrs.

Peterkin proposed they should begin by eating the apple-sauce,
then discussing  it, first botanically, next historically; or perhaps
first historically,  beginning with Adam and Eve, and the first

 Mrs. Peterkin feared the coffee would be getting cold, and the
griddles were  waiting. For herself, she declared she felt more at
home on the marmalade,  because the quinces came from
grandfather's, and she had seen them planted; she  remembered all
about it, and now the bush came up to the sitting-room window.

She seemed to have heard him tell that the town of Quincy, where
the granite  came from, was named from them, and she never quite
recollected why, except they  were so hard, as hard as stone, and it
took you almost the whole day to stew  them, and then you might
as well set them on again.

Mr. Peterkin was glad to be reminded of the old place at
grandfather's. In order  to know thoroughly about apples, they
ought to understand the making of cider.

Now, they might some time drive up to grandfather's, scarcely
twelve miles away,  and see the cider made. Why, indeed, should
not the family go this very day up  to grandfather's, and continue
the education of the breakfast?

"Why not indeed?" exclaimed the little boys. A day at grandfather's
would give  them the whole process of the apple, from the orchard
to the cider-mill. In this  way they could widen the field of study,
even to follow in time the cup of  coffee to Java.

It was suggested, too, that at grandfather's they might study the
processes of  maple-syrup as involved in the griddle-cakes.

 Agamemnon pointed out the connection between the two subjects:
they were both  the products of trees­the apple-tree and the maple.
Mr. Peterkin proposed that  the lesson for the day should be
considered the study of trees, and on the way  they could look at
other trees.

Why not, indeed, go this very day? There was no time like the
present. Their  breakfast had been so copious, they would scarcely
be in a hurry for dinner, and  would, therefore, have the whole day
before them.

Mrs. Peterkin could put up the remains of the breakfast for

But how should they go? The carryall, in spite of its name, could
hardly take  the whole family, though they might squeeze in six, as
the little boys did not  take up much room.

Elizabeth Eliza suggested that she could spend the night at

Indeed, she had been planning a visit there, and would not object
to staying  some days. This would make it easier about coming
home, but it did not settle  the difficulty in getting there.

Why not "Ride and Tie"?

The little boys were fond of walking; so was Mr. Peterkin; and
Agamemnon and  Solomon John did not object to their turn. Mrs.
Peterkin could sit in the  carriage, when it was waiting for the
pedestrians to come up; or, she said, she  did not object to a little
turn of walking. Mr. Peterkin would start, with  Solomon John and
the little boys, before the rest, and Agamemnon should drive  his
mother and Elizabeth Eliza to the first stopping-place.

 Then came up another question,­of Elizabeth Eliza's trunk. If she
stayed a few  days, she would need to carry something. It might be
hot, and it might be cold.

Just as soon as she carried her thin things, she would need her
heaviest wraps.

You never could depend upon the weather. Even "Probabilities"
got you no farther  than to-day.

In an inspired moment, Elizabeth Eliza bethought herself of the
expressman. She  would send her trunk by the express, and she left
the table directly to go and  pack it. Mrs. Peterkin busied herself
with Amanda over the remains of the  breakfast. Mr. Peterkin and
Agamemnon went to order the horse and the  expressman, and
Solomon John and the little boys prepared themselves for a 
pedestrian excursion.

Elizabeth Eliza found it difficult to pack in a hurry; there were so
many things  she might want, and then again she might not. She
must put up her music, because  her grandfather had a piano; and
then she bethought herself of Agamemnon's  flute, and decided to
pick out a volume or two of the Encyclopædia.  But it was  hard to
decide, all by herself, whether to take G for griddle-cakes, or M for 
maple-syrup, or T for tree. She would take as many as she could
make room for.

She put up her work-box and two extra work-baskets, and she must
take some  French books she had never yet found time to read.
This involved taking her  French dictionary, as she doubted if her
grandfather had one. She ought to put  in a "Botany," if they were
to study trees; but she could not tell which, so she  would take all
there were. She might as well take all her dresses, and it was no 
harm if one had too many wraps. When she had her trunk packed,
she found it  over-full; it was difficult to shut it. She had heard
Solomon John set out from  the front door with his father and the
little boys, and Agamemnon was busy  holding the horse at the
side door, so there was no use in calling for help. She  got upon the
trunk; she jumped upon it; she sat down upon it, and, leaning over, 
found she could lock it! Yes, it was really locked.

But, on getting down from the trunk, she found her dress had been
caught in the  lid; she could not move away from it! What was
worse, she was so fastened to the  trunk that she could not lean
forward far enough to turn the key back, to unlock  the trunk and
release herself! The lock had slipped easily, but she could not  now
get hold of the key in the right way to turn it back.

She tried to pull her dress away. No, it was caught too firmly. She
called for  help to her mother or Amanda, to come and open the
trunk. But her door was shut.

Nobody near enough to hear! She tried to pull the trunk toward the
door, to open  it and make herself heard; but it was so heavy that,
in her constrained  position, she could not stir it. In her agony, she
would have been willing to  have torn her dress; but it was her
travelling-dress, and too stout to tear. She  might cut it carefully.
Alas, she had packed her scissors, and her knife she had  lent to the
little boys the day before! She called again. What silence there was 
in the house! Her voice seemed to echo through the room. At
length, as she  listened, she heard the sound of wheels.

Was it the carriage, rolling away from the side door? Did she hear
the front  door shut? She remembered then that Amanda was to
"have the day." But she,  Elizabeth Eliza, was to have spoken to
Amanda, to explain to her to wait for the  expressman. She was to
have told her as she went downstairs. But she had not  been able to
go downstairs! And Amanda must have supposed that all the
family  had left, and she, too, must have gone, knowing of the
expressman. Yes, she  heard the wheels! She heard the front door

But could they have gone without her? Then she recalled that she
had proposed  walking on a little way with Solomon John and her
father, to be picked up by  Mrs. Peterkin, if she should have
finished her packing in time. Her mother must  have supposed that
she had done so,­that she had spoken to Amanda, and started  with
the rest. Well, she would soon discover her mistake. She would
overtake the  walking party, and, not finding Elizabeth Eliza,
would return for her. Patience  only was needed. She had looked
around for something to read; but she had packed  up all her
books. She had packed her knitting. How quiet and still it was! She 
tried to imagine where her mother would meet the rest of the
family. They were  good walkers, and they might have reached the
two-mile bridge. But suppose they  should stop for water beneath
the arch of the bridge, as they often did, and the  carryall pass over
it without seeing them, her mother would not know but she was 
with them? And suppose her mother should decide to leave the
horse at the place  proposed for stopping and waiting for the first
pedestrian party, and herself  walk on, no one would be left to tell
the rest, when they should come up to the  carryall. They might go
on so, through the whole journey, without meeting, and  she might
not be missed till they should reach her grandfather's!

Horrible thought! She would be left here alone all day. The
expressman would  come, but the expressman would go, for he
would not be able to get into the  house!

 She thought of the terrible story of Ginevra, of the bride who was
shut up in  her trunk, and forever! She was shut up on hers, and
knew not when she should be  released! She had acted once in the
ballad of the "Mistletoe Bough." She had  been one of the "guests,"
who had sung "Oh, the Mistletoe Bough," and had looked  up at it,
and she had seen at the side-scenes how the bride had laughingly 
stepped into the trunk. But the trunk then was only a make-believe
of some  boards in front of a sofa, and this was a stern reality.

It would be late now before her family would reach her
grandfather's. Perhaps  they would decide to spend the night.
Perhaps they would fancy she was coming by  express. She gave
another tremendous effort to move the trunk toward the door.

In vain. All was still.

 Meanwhile, Mrs. Peterkin sat some time at the door, wondering
why Elizabeth  Eliza did not come down. Mr. Peterkin had started
on with Solomon John and all  the little boys. Agamemnon had
packed the things into the carriage,­a basket of  lunch, a change of
shoes for Mr. Peterkin, some extra wraps,­everything Mrs.

Peterkin could think of, for the family comfort. Still Elizabeth
Eliza did not  come. "I think she must have walked on with your
father," she said, at last;  "you had better get in." Agamemnon now
got in. "I should think she would have  mentioned it," she
continued; "but we may as well start on, and pick her up!"

They started off. "I hope Elizabeth Eliza thought to speak to
Amanda, but we  must ask her when we come up with her."

But they did not come up with Elizabeth Eliza. At the turn beyond
the village,  they found an envelope struck up in an inviting
manner against a tree. In this  way, they had agreed to leave
missives for each other as they passed on. This  note informed
them that the walking party was going to take the short cut across 
the meadows, and would still be in front of them. They saw the
party at last,  just beyond the short cut; but Mr. Peterkin was
explaining the character of the  oak-tree to his children as they
stood around a large specimen.

"I suppose he is telling them that it is some kind of a 'Quercus,'"
said  Agamemnon, thoughtfully.

Mrs. Peterkin thought Mr. Peterkin would scarcely use such an
expression, but  she could see nothing of Elizabeth Eliza. Some of
the party, however, were  behind the tree, some were in front, and
Elizabeth Eliza might be behind the  tree. They were too far off to
be shouted at. Mrs. Peterkin was calmed, and went  on to the
stopping-lace agreed upon, which they reached before long. This
had  been appointed near Farmer Gordon's barn, that there might
be somebody at hand  whom they knew, in case there should be
any difficulty in untying the horse. The  plan had been that Mrs.
Peterkin should always sit in the carriage, while the  others should
take turns for walking; and Agamemnon tied the horse to a fence, 
and left her comfortably arranged with her knitting. Indeed, she
had risen so  early to prepare for the alphabetical breakfast, and
had since been so tired  with preparations, that she was quite
sleepy, and would not object to a nape in  the shade, by the
soothing sound of the buzzing of the flies. But she called 
Agamemnon back, as he started off for his solitary walk, with a
perplexing  question:

"Suppose the rest all should arrive, how could they now be
accommodated in the  carryall? It would be too much for the
horse! Why had Elizabeth Eliza gone with  the rest without
counting up? Of course, they must have expected that she­Mrs.

Peterkin­would walk on to the next stopping-place!"

She decided there was no way but for her to walk on. When the
rest passed her,  they might make a change. So she put up knitting
cheerfully. It was a little  joggly in the carriage, she had already
found, for the horse was restless from  the flies, and she did not
like being left alone.

She walked on then with Agamemnon. It was very pleasant at first,
but the sun  became hot, and it was not long before she was
fatigued. When they reached a  hay-field, she proposed going in to
rest upon one of the hay-cocks. The largest  and most shady was at
the other end of the field, and they were seated there  when the
carryall passed them in the road. Mrs. Peterkin waved parasol and
hat,  and the party in the carryall returned their greetings, but they
were too far  apart to hear each other.

Mrs. Peterkin and Agamemnon slowly resumed their walk.

"Well, we shall find Elizabeth Eliza in the carryall," she said, "and
that will  explain all."

But it took them an hour or two to reach the carryall, with frequent
stoppings  for rest, and when they reached it, no one was in it. A
note was pinned up in  the vehicle to say they had all walked on; it
was "prime fun."

In this way the parties continued to dodge each other, for Mrs.
Peterkin felt  that she must walk on from the next station, and the
carryall missed her again  while she and Agamemnon stopped in a
house to rest, and for a glass of water.

She reached the carryall to find again that no one was in it. The
party had  passed on for the last station, where it had been decided
all should meet at the  foot of grandfather's hill, that they might all
arrive at the house together.

Mrs. Peterkin and Agamemnon looked out eagerly for the party all
the way, as  Elizabeth Eliza must be tired by this time; but Mrs.
Peterkin's last walk had  been so slow, that the other party was far
in advance and reached the  stopping-place before them. The little
boys were all rowed out on the stone  fence, awaiting them, full of
delight at having reached grandfather's. Mr.

Peterkin came forward to meet them, and, at the same moment
with Mrs. Peterkin,  exclaimed: "Where is Elizabeth Eliza?" Each
party looked eagerly at the other;  no Elizabeth Eliza was to be
seen. Where was she? What was to be done? Was she  left behind?
Mrs. Peterkin was convinced she must have somehow got to 
grandfather's. They hurried up the hill. Grandfather and all the
family came out  to greet them, for they had been seen
approaching. There was great questioning,  but no Elizabeth Eliza!

It was sunset; the view was wide and fine. Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin
stood and  looked out from the north to the south. Was it too late
to send back for  Elizabeth Eliza? Where was she?

Meanwhile the little boys had been informing the family of the
object of their  visit, and while Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin were looking
up and down the road, and  Agamemnon and Solomon John were
explaining to each other the details of their  journeys, they had
discovered some facts.

"We shall have to go back," they exclaimed. "We are too late! The
maple-syrup  was all made last spring."

"We are too early; we shall have to stay two or three months, ­the
cider is not  made till October."

The expedition was a failure! They could study the making of
neither maple-syrup  nor cider, and Elizabeth Eliza was lost,
perhaps forever! The sun went down, and  Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin
still stood to look up and down the road.

. . . . . . . . . . . Elizabeth Eliza meanwhile, had sat upon her trunk,
as it seemed for ages. She  recalled all the terrible stories of
prisoners,­how they had watched the growth  of flowers through
cracks in the pavement. She wondered how long she could live 
without eating. How thankful she was for her abundant breakfast!

At length she heard the door-bell. But who could go to the door to
answer it? In  vain did she make another effort to escape; it was

How singular!­there were footsteps. Some one was going to the
door; some one had  opened it. "They must be burglars." Well,
perhaps that was a better fate­to be  gagged by burglars, and the
neighbors informed­than to be forever locked on her  trunk. The
steps approached the door. It opened, and Amanda ushered in the 

Amanda had not gone. She had gathered, while waiting at the
breakfast-table,  that there was to be an expressman whom she
must receive.

Elizabeth Eliza explained the situation. The expressman turned the
key of her  trunk, and she was released!

What should she do next? So long a time had elapsed, she had
given up all hope  of her family returning for her. But how could
she reach them?

She hastily prevailed upon the expressman to take her along until
she should  come up with some of the family. At least she would
fall in with either the  walking party or the carryall, or she would
meet them if they were on their  return.

She mounted the seat with the expressman, and slowly they took
their way,  stopping for occasional parcels as they left the village.

But much to Elizabeth Eliza's dismay, they turned off from the
main road on  leaving the village. She remonstrated, but the driver
insisted he must go round  by Millikin's to leave a bedstead. They
went round by Millikin's, and then had  further turns to make.
Elizabeth Eliza explained that in this way it would be  impossible
for her to find her parents and family, and at last he proposed to 
take her all the way with her trunk. She remembered with a
shudder that when she  had first asked about her trunk, he had
promised it should certainly be  delivered the next morning.
Suppose they should have to be out all night? Where  did
express-carts spend the night? She thought of herself in a lone
wood, in an  express-wagon! She could hardly bring herself to ask,
before assenting, when he  should arrive.

"He guessed he could bring up before night."

And so it happened that as Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin in the late sunset
were looking  down the hill, wondering what they should do about
the lost Elizabeth Eliza,  they saw an express wagon approaching.
A female form sat upon the front seat.

"She has decided to come by express," said Mrs. Peterkin. "It is­it
is­Elizabeth  Eliza!"

BOSTON.  THE Peterkins were in quite a muddle (for them) about
the carnival of authors,  to be given in Boston. As soon as it was
announced, their interests were  excited, and they determined that
all the family should go.

But they conceived a wrong idea of the entertainment, as they
supposed that  every one must go in costume. Elizabeth Eliza
thought their lessons in the  foreign languages would help them
much in conversing in character.

As the carnival was announced early Solomon John thought there
would be time to  read up everything written by all the authors, in
order to be acquainted with  the characters they introduced. Mrs.
Peterkin did not wish to begin too early  upon the reading, for she
was sure she should forget all that the different  authors had
written before the day came.

But Elizabeth Eliza declared that she should hardly have time
enough, as it was,  to be acquainted with all the authors. She had
given up her French lessons,  after taking six, for want of time, and
had, indeed, concluded she had learned  in them all she should
need to know of that language. She could repeat one or  two pages
of phrases, and she was astonished to find how much she could 
understand already of what the French teacher said to her; and he
assured her  that when she went to Paris she could at least ask the
price of gloves, or of  some other things she would need, and he
taught her, too, how to pronounce  "garçon," in calling for more.

Agamemnon thought that different members of the family might
make themselves  familiar with different authors; the little boys
were already acquainted with  "Mother Goose." Mr. Peterkin had
read the "Pickwick Papers," and Solomon John  had actually seen
Mr. Longfellow getting into a horse-car.

Elizabeth Eliza suggested that they might ask the Turk to give
lectures upon the  "Arabian Nights." Everybody else was planning
something of the sort, to "raise  funds" for some purpose, and she
was sure they ought not to be behindhand. Mrs.

Peterkin approved of this. It would be excellent if they could raise
funds  enough to pay for their own tickets to the carnival; then they
could go every  night.

Elizabeth Eliza was uncertain. She thought it was usual to use the
funds for  some object. Mr. Peterkin said that if they gained funds
enough they might  arrange a booth of their own, and sit in it, and
take the carnival comfortably.

But Agamemnon reminded him that none of the family were
authors, and only  authors had booths. Solomon John, indeed, had
once started upon writing a book,  but he was not able to think of
anything to put in it, and nothing had occurred  to him yet.

Mr. Peterkin urged him to make one more effort. If his book could
come out  before the carnival he could go as an author, and might
have a booth of his own,  and take his family.

But Agamemnon declared it would take years to become an
author. You might indeed  publish something, but you had to make
sure that it would be read. Mrs.

Peterkin, on the other hand, was certain that libraries were filled
with books  that never were read, yet authors had written them. For
herself, she had not  read half the books in their own library. And
she was glad there was to be a  Carnival of Authors, that she might
know who they were.

Mr. Peterkin did not understand why they called them a
"Carnival"; but he  supposed they should find out when they went
to it.

Mrs. Peterkin still felt uncertain about costumes. She proposed
looking over the  old trunks in the garret. They would find some
suitable dresses there, and these  would suggest what characters
they should take. Elizabeth Eliza was pleased with  this thought.
She remembered an old turban of white mull muslin, in an old 
bandbox, and why should not her mother wear it?

 Mrs. Peterkin supposed that she should then go as her own

Agamemnon did not approve of this. Turbans are now worn in the
East, and Mrs.

Peterkin could go in some Eastern character. Solomon John
thought she might be  Cleopatra, and this was determined on.
Among the treasures found were some old  bonnets, of large size,
with waving plumes. Elizabeth Eliza decided upon the  largest of

 She was tempted to appear as Mrs. Columbus, as Solomon John
was to take the  character of Christopher Columbus; but he was
planning to enter upon the stage  in a boat, and Elizabeth Eliza was
a little afraid of sea-sickness, as he had  arranged to be a great
while finding the shore.

Solomon John had been led to take this character by discovering a
coal-hod that  would answer for a helmet; then, as Christopher
Columbus was born in Genoa, he  could use the phrases in Italian
he had lately learned of his teacher.

As the day approached the family had their costumes prepared.

Mr. Peterkin decided to be Peter the Great. It seemed to him a
happy thought,  for the few words of Russian he had learned would
come in play, and he was quite  sure that his own family name
made him kin to that of the great Czar. He studied  up the life in
the Encyclopædia, and decided to take the costume of a 
ship-builder. He visited the navy-yard and some of the docks; but
none of them  gave him the true idea of dress for ship-building in
Holland or St. Petersburg.

But he found a picture of Peter the Great, representing him in a
broad-brimmed  hat. So he assumed one that he found at a
costumer's, and with Elizabeth Eliza's  black waterproof was
satisfied with his own appearance.

Elizabeth Eliza wondered if she could not go with her father in
some Russian  character. She would have to lay aside her large
bonnet, but she had seen  pictures of Russian ladies, with fur muffs
on their heads, and she might wear  her own muff.

Mrs. Peterkin, as Cleopatra, wore the turban, with a little row of
false curls  in front, and a white embroidered muslin shawl crossed
over her black silk  dress. The little boys thought she looked much
like the picture of their  great-grandmother. But doubtless
Cleopatra resembled this picture, as it was all  so long ago, so the
rest of the family decided.

Agamemnon determined to go as Noah. The costume, as
represented in one of the  little boys' arks, was simple. His father's
red-lined dressing gown, turned  inside out, permitted it easily.

Elizabeth Eliza was now anxious to be Mrs. Shem, and make a
long dress of yellow  flannel, and appear with Agamemnon and the
little boys. For the little boys were  to represent two doves and a
raven. There were feather-dusters enough in the  family for their
costumes, which would be then complete with their india-rubber 

Solomon John carried out in detail his idea of Christopher
Columbus. He had a  number of eggs boiled hard to take in his
pocket, proposing to repeat, through  the evening, the scene of
setting the egg on its end. He gave up the plan of a  boat, as it must
be difficult to carry one into town; so he contented himself by 
practising the motion of landing by stepping up on a chair.

But what scene could Elizabeth Eliza carry out? If they had an ark,
as Mrs. Shem  she might crawl in and out of the roof constantly, if
it were not too high. But  Mr. Peterkin thought it as difficult to
take an ark into town as Solomon John's  boat.

The evening came. But with all their preparations they got to the
hall late. The  entrance was filled with a crowd of people, and, as
they stopped at the  cloakroom, to leave their wraps, they found
themselves entangled with a number  of people in costume coming
out from a dressing-room below. Mr. Peterkin was  much
encouraged. They were thus joining the performers. The band was
playing the  "Wedding March" as they went upstairs to a door of
the hall which opened upon  one side of the stage. Here a
procession was marching up the steps of the stage,  all in costume,
and entering behind the scenes.

"We are just in the right time," whispered Mr. Peterkin to his
family; "they are  going upon the stage; we must fall into line."
The little boys had their  feather-dusters ready. Some words from
one of the managers made Peterkin  understand the situation.

"We are going to be introduced to Mr. Dickens," he said.

"I thought he was dead!" exclaimed Mrs. Peterkin trembling.

"Authors live forever!" said Agamemnon in her ear.

At this moment they were ushered upon the stage. The stage
manager glared at  them, as he awaited their names for
introduction, while they came up all  unannounced,­a part of the
programme not expected. But he uttered the words upon  his lips,
"Great Expectations;" and the Peterkin family swept across the
stage  with the rest: Mr. Peterkin costumed as Peter the Great, Mrs.
Peterkin as  Cleopatra, Agamemnon as Noah, Solomon John as
Christopher Columbus, Elizabeth  Eliza in yellow flannel as Mrs.
Shem, with a large, old-fashioned bonnet on her  head as Mrs.
Columbus, and the little boys behind as two doves and a raven.

Across the stage, in face of all the assembled people, then
following the rest  down the stairs on the other side, in among the
audience, they went; but into an  audience not dressed in costume!

There were Ann Maria Bromwick and the Osbornes,­all the
neighbors,­all as  natural as though they were walking the streets at
home, though Ann Maria did  wear white gloves.

"I had no idea you were to appear in character," said Ann Maria to
Elizabeth  Eliza; "to what booth do you belong?"

"We are no particular author," said Mr. Peterkin.

"Ah, I see, a sort of varieties' booth," said Mr. Osborne.

"What is your character?" asked Ann Maria of Elizabeth Eliza.

"I have not quite decided," said Elizabeth Eliza. "I thought I should
find out  after I came here. The marshal called us 'Great

Mrs. Peterkin was at the summit of bliss. "I have shaken hands
with Dickens!"

she exclaimed.

But she looked round to ask the little boys if they, too, had shaken
hands with  the great man, but not a little boy could she find.

They had been swept off in Mother Goose's train, which had
lingered on the steps  to see the Dickens reception, with which the
procession of characters in costume  had closed. At this moment
they were dancing round the barberry bush, in a  corner of the
balcony in Mother Goose's quarters, their feather-dusters gayly 
waving in the air.

But Mrs. Peterkin, far below, could not see this, and consoled
herself with the  thought, they should all meet on the stage in the
grand closing tableau. She was  bewildered by the crowds which
swept her hither and thither. At last she found  herself in the
Whittier Booth, and sat a long time calmly there. As Cleopatra  she
seemed out of place, but as her own grandmother she answered
well with its  New England scenery.

Solomon John wandered about, landing in America whenever he
found a chance to  enter a booth. Once before an admiring
audience he set up his egg in the centre  of the Goethe Booth,
which had been deserted by its committee for the larger  stage.

Agamemnon frequently stood in the background of scenes in the
Arabian Nights.

It was with difficulty that the family could be repressed from going
on the  stage whenever the bugle sounded for the different groups
represented there.

Elizabeth Eliza came near appearing in the "Dream of Fair
Women," at its most  culminating point.

Mr. Peterkin found himself with the "Cricket on the Hearth," in the
Dickens  Booth. He explained that he was Peter the Great, but
always in the Russian  language, which was never understood.

Elizabeth Eliza found herself, in turn, in all the booths. Every
manager was  puzzled by her appearance, and would send her to
some other, and she passed  along, always trying to explain that
she had not yet decided upon her character.

 Mr. Peterkin came and took Cleopatra from the Whittier Booth.

"I cannot understand," he said, "why none of our friends are
dressed in costume,  and why we are."

"I rather like it," said Elizabeth Eliza, "though I should be better
pleased if  I could form a group with some one."

The strains of the minuet began. Mrs. Peterkin was anxious to join
the  performers. It was the dance of her youth.

But she was delayed by one of the managers on the steps that led
to the stage.

"I cannot understand this company," he said, distractedly.

"They cannot find their booth," said another.

"That is the case," said Mr. Peterkin, relieved to have it stated.

"Perhaps you had better pass into the corridor," said a polite

They did this, and, walking across, found themselves in the

"This is the booth for us," said Mr. Peterkin.

"Indeed it is," said Mrs. Peterkin, sinking into a chair, exhausted.

At this moment two doves and a raven appeared,­the little boys,
who had been  dancing eagerly in Mother Goose's establishment,
and now came down for  ice-cream.

"I hardly know how to sit down," said Elizabeth Eliza, "for I am
sure Mrs. Shem  never could. Still, as I do not know if I am Mrs.
Shem, I will venture it."

Happily, seats were to be found for all, and they were soon
arranged in a row,  calmly eating ice-cream.

"I think the truth is," said Mr. Peterkin, "that we represent
historical people,  and we ought to have been fictitious characters
in books. That is, I observe,  what the others are. We shall know
better another time."

"If we only ever get home," said Mrs. Peterkin, "I shall not wish to
come again.

It seems like being on the stage, sitting in a booth, and it is so
bewildering,  Elizabeth Eliza not knowing who she is, and going
round and round in this way."

"I am afraid we shall never reach home," said Agamemnon, who
had been silent for  some time; "we may have to spend the night
here. I find I have lost our checks  for our clothes in the
cloak-room! "

"Spend the night in a booth, in Cleopatra's turban!" exclaimed Mrs.

"We should like to come every night," cried the little boys.

"But to spend the night," repeated Mrs. Peterkin.

"I conclude the Carnival keeps up all night," said Mr. Peterkin.

"But never to recover our cloaks," said Mrs. Peterkin; "could not
the little  boys look round for the checks on the floors? "

She began to enumerate the many valuable things that they might
never see again.

She had worn her large fur cape of stone-marten,­her
grandmother's,­that  Elizabeth Eliza had been urging her to have
made into a foot-rug. Now how she  wished she had! And there
were Mr. Peterkin's new overshoes, and Agamemnon had  brought
an umbrella, and the little boys had their mittens. Their
india-rubber  boots, fortunately, they had on, in the character of
birds. But Solomon John had  worn a fur cap, and Elizabeth Eliza
a muff. Should they lose all these valuables  entirely, and go home
in the cold without them? No, it would be better to wait  till
everybody had gone, and then look carefully over the floors for the
checks;  if only the little boys could know where Agamemnon had
been, they were willing  to look. Mr. Peterkin was not sure as they
would have time to reach the train.

Still, they would need something to wear, and he could not tell the
time. He had  not brought his watch. It was a Waltham watch, and
he thought it would not be in  character for Peter the Great to wear

At this moment the strains of "Home, Sweet Home" were heard
from the band, and  people were seen preparing to go.

"All can go home, but we must stay," said Mrs. Peterkin, gloomily,
as the  well-known strains floated in from the larger hall.

A number of marshals came to the refreshment-room, looked at
them, whispered to  each other, as the Peterkins sat in a row.

"Can we do anything for you?" asked one at last. "Would you not
like to go?" He  seemed eager they should leave the room.

Mr. Peterkin explained that they could not go, as they had lost the
checks for  their wraps, and hoped to find their checks on the floor
when everybody was  gone. The marshal asked if they could not
describe what they had worn, in which  case the loss of the checks
was not so important, as the crowds had now almost  left, and it
would not be difficult to identify their wraps. Mrs. Peterkin 
eagerly declared she could describe every article.

It was astonishing how the marshals hurried them through the
quickly deserted  corridors, how gladly they recovered their
garments! Mrs. Peterkin, indeed, was  disturbed by the eagerness
of the marshals; she feared they had some pretext for  getting the
family out of the hall. Mrs. Peterkin was one of those who never 
consent to be forced to anything. She would not be compelled to
go home, even  with strains of music. She whispered her
suspicions to Mr. Peterkin; but  Agamemnon came hastily up to
announce the time, which he had learned from the  clock in the
large hall. They must leave directly if they wished to catch the 
latest train, as there was barely time to reach it.

Then, indeed, was Mrs. Peterkin ready to leave. If they should miss
the train!

If she should have to pass the night in the streets in her turban! She
was the  first to lead the way, and, panting, the family followed
her, just in time to  take the train as it was leaving the station.

The excitement was not yet over. They found in the train many of
their friends  and neighbors, returning also from the Carnival; so
they had many questions put  to them which they were unable to
answer. Still Mrs. Peterkin's turban was much  admired, and
indeed the whole appearance of the family; so that they felt 
themselves much repaid for their exertions.

But more adventures awaited them. They left the train with their
friends; but as  Mrs. Peterkin and Elizabeth Eliza were very tired,
they walked very slowly, and  Solomon John and the little boys
were sent on with the pass-key to open the  door. They soon
returned with the startling intelligence that it was not the  right
key, and they could not get in. It was Mr. Peterkin's office-key; he
had  taken it by mistake, or he might have dropped the house-key
in the cloak-room of  the Carnival.

"Must we go back?" sighed Mrs. Peterkin, in an exhausted voice.
More than ever  did Elizabeth Eliza regret that Agamemnon's
invention in keys had failed to  secure a patent!

It was impossible to get into the house, for Amanda had been
allowed to go and  spend the night with a friend, so there was no
use in ringing, though the little  boys had tried it.

"We can return to the station," said Mr. Peterkin; "the rooms will
be warm, on  account of the midnight train. We can, at least, think
what we shall do next."

At the station was one of their neighbors, proposing to take the
New York  midnight train, for it was now after eleven, and the
train went through at  half-past.

"I saw lights at the locksmith's over the way, as I passed," he said;
"why do  not you send over to the young man there? He can get
your door open for you. I  never would spend the night here."

Solomon John went over to "the young man," who agreed to go up
to the house as  soon as he had closed the shop, fit a key, and open
the door, and come back to  them on his way home. Solomon John
came back to the station, for it was now cold  and windy in the
deserted streets. The family made themselves as comfortable as 
possible by the stove, sending Solomon John out occasionally to
look for the  young man. But somehow Solomon John missed him;
the lights were out in the  locksmith's shop, so he followed along
to the house, hoping to find him there.

But he was not there! He came back to report. Perhaps the young
man had opened  the door and gone on home. Solomon John and
Agamemnon went back together, but  they could not get in. Where
was the young man? He had lately come to town, and  nobody
knew where he lived, for on the return of Solomon John and
Agamemnon it  had been proposed to go to the house of the young
man. The night was wearing on.

The midnight train had come and gone. The passengers who came
and went looked  with wonder at Mrs. Peterkin, nodding in her
turban, as she sat by the stove, on  a corner of a long bench. At last
the station-master had to leave, for a short  rest. He felt obliged to
lock up the station, but he promised to return at an  early hour to
release them.

"Of what use," said Elizabeth Eliza, "if we cannot even then get
into our own  house?"

Mr. Peterkin thought the matter appeared bad, if the locksmith had
left town. He  feared the young man might have gone in, and
helped himself to spoons, and left.

Only they should have seen him if he had taken the midnight train.
Solomon John  thought he appeared honest. Mr. Peterkin only
ventured to whisper his  suspicions, as he did not wish to arouse
Mrs. Peterkin, who still was nodding in  the corner of the long

Morning did come at last. The family decided to go to their home;
perhaps by  some effort in the early daylight they might make an

On the way they met with the night-policeman, returning from his
beat. He  stopped when he saw the family.

 "Ah ! that accounts," he said; "you were all out last night, and the
burglars  took occasion to make a raid on your house. I caught a
lively young man in the  very act; box of tools in his hand! If I had
been a minute late he would have  made his way in"­  The family
then tried to interrupt­to explain­  "Where is he?" exclaimed Mr.

"Safe in the lock-up," answered the policeman.

"But he is the locksmith!" interrupted Solomon John.

"We have no key!" said Elizabeth Eliza; "if you have locked up the
locksmith we  can never get in."

The policeman looked from one to the other, smiling slightly when
he understood  the case.

"The locksmith!" he exclaimed; "he is a new fellow, and I did not
recognize him,  and arrested him! Very well, I will go and let him
out, that he may let you in!"

and he hurried away, surprising the Peterkin family with what
seemed like  insulting screams of laughter.

"It seems to me a more serious case than it appears to him," said
Mr. Peterkin.

Mrs. Peterkin did not understand it at all. Had burglars entered the
house? Did  the policeman say they had taken spoons ? And why
did he appear so pleased? She  was sure the old silver teapot was
locked up in the closet of their room. Slowly  the family walked
towards the house, and, almost as soon as they, the policeman 
appeared with the released locksmith, and a few boys from the
street, who  happened to be out early.

The locksmith was not in very good humor, and took ill the jokes
of the  policeman. Mr. Peterkin, fearing he might not consent to
open the door, pressed  into his hand a large sum of money. The
door flew open; the family could go in.

Amanda arrived at the same moment. There was hope of breakfast.
Mrs. Peterkin  staggered towards the stairs. "I shall never go to
another carnival!" she  exclaimed.

 THE PETERKINS AT THE FARM.  YES, at last they had
reached the seaside, after much talking and deliberation,  and
summer after summer the journey had been constantly postponed.

But here they were at last, at the "Old Farm," so called, where
seaside  attractions had been praised in all the advertisements. And
here they were to  meet the Sylvesters, who knew all about the
place, cousins of Ann Maria  Bromwick. Elizabeth Eliza was
astonished not to find them there, though she had  not expected
Ann Maria to join them till the very next day.

Their preparations had been so elaborate that at one time the
whole thing had  seemed hopeless; yet here they all were. Their
trunks, to be sure, had not  arrived; but the wagon was to be sent
back for them, and, wonderful to tell,  they had all their
hand-baggage safe.

Agamemnon had brought his Portable Electrical Machine and
Apparatus, and the  volumes of the Encyclopædia that might tell
him how to manage it, and Solomon  John had his photograph
camera. The little boys had used their india-rubber  boots as
portmanteaux, filling them to the brim, and carrying one in each 
hand,­a very convenient way for travelling they considered it; but
they found on  arriving (when they wanted to put their boots
directly on for exploration round  the house), that it was somewhat
inconvenient to have to begin to unpack  directly, and scarcely
room enough could be found for all the contents in the  small
chamber allotted to them.

There was no room in the house for the electrical machine and
camera. Elizabeth  Eliza thought the other boarders were afraid of
the machine going off; so an  out-house was found for them, where
Agamemnon and Solomon John could arrange  them.

Mrs. Peterkin was much pleased with the old-fashioned porch and
low-studded  rooms, though the sleeping-rooms seemed a little
stuffy at first.

 Mr. Peterkin was delighted with the admirable order in which the
farm was  evidently kept. From the first moment he arrived he
gave himself to examining  the well-stocked stables and barns, and
the fields and vegetable gardens, which  were shown to him by a
highly intelligent person, a Mr. Atwood, who devoted  himself to
explaining to Mr. Peterkin all the details of methods in the

 The rest of the family were disturbed at being so far from the sea,
when they  found it would take nearly all the afternoon to reach
the beach. The  advertisements had surely stated that the "Old
Farm" was directly on the shore,  and that sea-bathing would be
exceedingly convenient; which was hardly the case  if it took you
an hour and a half to walk to it.

Mr. Peterkin declared there were always such discrepancies
between the  advertisements of seaside places and the actual facts;
but he was more than  satisfied with the farm part, and was glad to
remain and admire it, while the  rest of the family went to find the
beach, starting off in a wagon large enough  to accommodate
them, Agamemnon driving the one horse.

Solomon John had depended upon taking the photographs of the
family in a row on  the beach; but he decided not to take his
camera out the first afternoon.

This was well, as the sun was already setting when they reached
the beach.

"If this wagon were not so shaky," said Mrs. Peterkin "we might
drive over every  morning for our bath. The road is very straight,
and I suppose Agamemnon can  turn on the beach."

"We should have to spend the whole day about it," said Solomon
John, in a  discouraged tone, "unless we can have a quicker horse."

"Perhaps we should prefer that," said Elizabeth Eliza, a little
gloomily, "to  staying at the house."

She had been a little disturbed to find there were not more elegant
and  fashionable-looking boarders at the farm, and she was
disappointed that the  Sylvesters had not arrived, who would
understand the ways of the place. Yet,  again, she was somewhat
relieved, for if their trunks did not come till the next  day, as was
feared, she should have nothing but her travelling dress to wear, 
which would certainly answer for to-night.

She had been busy all the early summer in preparing her dresses
for this very  watering-place, and, as far as appeared, she would
hardly need them, and was  disappointed to have no chance to
display them. But of course, when the  Sylvesters and Ann Maria
came, all would be different; but they would surely be  wasted on
the two old ladies she had seen, and on the old men who had
lounged  about the porch; there surely was not a gentleman among

Agamemnon assured her she could not tell at the seaside, as
gentlemen wore their  exercise dress, and took a pride in going
around in shocking hats and flannel  suits. Doubtless they would
be dressed for dinner on their return.

On their arrival they had been shown to a room to have their meals
by  themselves, and could not decide whether they were eating
dinner or lunch. There  was a variety of meat, vegetables, and pie,
that might come under either name;  but Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin
were well pleased.

"I had no idea we should have really farm-fare," Mrs. Peterkin
said. "I have not  drunk such a tumbler of milk since I was young."

Elizabeth Eliza concluded they ought not to judge from a first
meal, as  evidently their arrival had not been fully prepared for, in
spite of the  numerous letters that had been exchanged.

The little boys were, however, perfectly satisfied from the moment
of their  arrival, and one of them had stayed at the farm, declining
to go to the beach,  as he wished to admire the pigs, cows, and
horses; and all the way over to the  beach the other little boys were
hopping in and out of the wagon, which never  went too fast, to
pick long mullein-stalks, for whips to urge on the reluctant  horse
with, or to gather huckleberries, with which they were rejoiced to
find  the fields were filled, although, as yet, the berries were very

They wanted to stay longer on the beach, when they finally
reached it; but Mrs.

Peterkin and Elizabeth Eliza insisted upon turning directly back, as
it was not  fair to be late to dinner the very first night.

On the whole the party came back cheerful, yet hungry. They
found the same old  men, in the same costume, standing against
the porch.

"A little seedy, I should say," said Solomon John.

"Smoking pipes," said Agamemnon; "I believe that is the latest

"The smell of their tobacco is not very agreeable," Mrs. Peterkin
was forced to  say.

There seemed the same uncertainty on their arrival as to where
they were to be  put, and as to their meals.

Elizabeth Eliza tried to get into conversation with the old ladies,
who were  wandering in and out of a small sitting-room. But one
of them was very deaf, and  the other seemed to be a foreigner.
She discovered from a moderately tidy maid,  by the name of
Martha, who seemed a sort of factotum, that there were other 
ladies in their rooms, too much of invalids to appear.

"Regular bed-ridden," Martha had described them, which
Elizabeth Eliza did not  consider respectful.

Mr. Peterkin appeared coming down the slope of the hill behind
the house, very  cheerful. He had made the tour of the farm, and
found it in admirable order.

Elizabeth Eliza felt it time to ask Martha about the next meal, and
ventured to  call it supper, as a sort of compromise between dinner
and tea. If dinner were  expected she might offend by taking it for
granted that it was to be "tea," and  if they were unused to a late
dinner they might be disturbed if they had only  provided a "tea."

So she asked what was the usual hour for supper, and was
surprised when Martha  replied, "The lady must say," nodding to
Mrs. Peterkin. "She can have it just  when she wants, and just what
she wants!"

This was an unexpected courtesy.

Elizabeth Eliza asked when the others had their supper.

"Oh, they took it a long time ago," Martha answered. "If the lady
will go out  into the kitchen she can tell what she wants."

"Bring us in what you have," said Mr. Peterkin, himself quite
hungry. "If you  could cook us a fresh slice of beefsteak that would
be well."

"Perhaps some eggs," murmured Mrs. Peterkin.

"Scrambled," cried one of the little boys.

"Fried potatoes would not be bad," suggested Agamemnon.

"Couldn't we have some onions?" asked the little boy who had
stayed at home, and  had noticed the odor of onions when the
others had their supper.

"A pie would come in well," said Solomon John.

"And some stewed cherries," said the other little boy.

Martha fell to laying the table, and the family was much pleased,
when, in the  course of time, all the dishes they had recommended
appeared. Their appetites  were admirable, and they pronounced
the food the same.

"This is true Arab hospitality," said Mr. Peterkin, as he cut his
juicy  beefsteak.

"I know it," said Elizabeth Eliza, whose spirits began to rise. "We
have not  even seen the host and hostess."

She would, indeed, have been glad to find some one to tell her
when the  Sylvesters were expected, and why they had not arrived.
Her room was in the  wing, far from that of Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin,
and near the aged deaf and foreign  ladies, and she was kept awake
for some time by perplexed thoughts.

She was sure the lady from Philadelphia, under such
circumstances, would have  written to somebody. But ought she to
write to Ann Maria or the Sylvesters? And,  if she did write, which
had she better write to? She fully determined to write,  the first
thing in the morning, to both parties. But how should she address
her  letters ? Would there be any use in sending to the Sylvesters'
usual address,  which she knew well by this time, merely to say
they had not come? Of course the  Sylvesters would know they had
not come. It would be the same with Ann Maria.

She might, indeed, inclose her letters to their several postmasters.
Postmasters  were always so obliging, and always knew where
people were going to, and where  to send their letters. She might,
at least, write two letters, to say that  they­the Peterkins­had
arrived, and were disappointed not to find the  Sylvesters. And she
could add that their trunks had not arrived, and perhaps  their
friends might look out for them on their way. It really seemed a
good plan  to write. Yet another question came up, as to how she
would get her letters to  the post-office, as she had already learned
it was at quite a distance, and in a  different direction from the
station, where they were to send the next day for  their trunks.

She went over and over these same questions, kept awake by the
coughing and  talking of her neighbors, the other side of the thin

She was scarcely sorry to be aroused from her uncomfortable sleep
by the morning  sounds of guinea-hens, peacocks, and every other
kind of fowl.

Mrs. Peterkin expressed her satisfaction at the early breakfast, and
declared  she was delighted with such genuine farm sounds.

They passed the day much as the afternoon before, reaching the
beach only in  time to turn round to come back for their dinner,
which was appointed at noon.

Mrs. Peterkin was quite satisfied. "Such a straight road, and the
beach such a  safe place to turn round upon!"

Elizabeth Eliza was not so well pleased. A wagon had been sent to
the station  for their trunks, which could not be found; they were
probably left at the  Boston station, or, Mr. Atwood suggested,
might have been switched off upon one  of the White Mountain
trains. There was no use to write any letters, as there  was no way
to send them. Elizabeth Eliza now almost hoped the Sylvesters
would  not come, for what should she do if the trunks did not come
and all her new  dresses ? On her way over to the beach she had
been thinking what she should do  with her new foulard and
cream-colored surah if the Sylvesters did not come, and  if their
time was spent in only driving to the beach and back. But now, she 
would prefer that the Sylvesters would not come till the dresses
and the trunks  did. All she could find out, from inquiry, on
returning, was, "that another lot  was expected on Saturday." The
next day she suggested:­  "Suppose we take our dinner with us to
the beach, and spend the day." The  Sylvesters and Ann Maria then
would find them on the beach, where her  travelling-dress would
be quite appropriate. "I am a little tired," she added,  "of going
back and forward over the same road; but when the rest come we
can  vary it."

The plan was agreed to, but Mr. Peterkin and the little boys
remained to go over  the farm again.

They had an excellent picnic on the beach, under the shadow of a
ledge of sand.

They were just putting up their things when they saw a party of
people  approaching from the other end of the beach.

"I am glad to see some pleasant-looking people at last," said
Elizabeth Eliza,  and they all turned to walk toward them.

As the other party drew near she recognized Ann Maria
Bromwick! And with her  were the Sylvesters,­so they proved to
be, for she had never seen them before.

"What! you have come in our absence!" exclaimed Elizabeth Eliza.

"And we have been wondering what had become of you!" cried
Ann Maria.

"I thought you would be at the farm before us," said Elizabeth
Eliza to Mr.

Sylvester, to whom she was introduced.

"We have been looking for you at the farm," he was saying to her.

"But we are at the farm," said Elizabeth Eliza.

"And so are we!" said Ann Maria.

"We have been there two days," said Mrs. Peterkin.

"And so have we, at the 'Old Farm,' just at the end of the beach,"
said Ann  Maria.

"Our farm is old enough," said Solomon John.

"Whereabouts are you?" asked Mr. Sylvester.

Elizabeth Eliza pointed to the road they had come.

A smile came over Mr. Sylvester's face; he knew the country well.

"You mean the farm-house behind the hill, at the end of the road?"
he asked.

The Peterkins all nodded affirmatively.

Ann Maria could not restrain herself, as broad smiles came over
the faces of all  the party.

"Why, that is the Poor-house!" she exclaimed.

"The town farm," Mr. Sylvester explained, deprecatingly.

The Peterkins were silent for a while. The Sylvesters tried not to

"There certainly were some disagreeable old men and women
there!" said Elizabeth  Eliza, at last.

"But we have surely been made very comfortable," Mrs. Peterkin

"A very simple mistake," said Mr. Sylvester, continuing his
amusement. "Your  trunks arrived all right at the 'Old Farm,' two
days ago."

"Let us go back directly," said Elizabeth Eliza.

"As directly as our horse will allow," said Agamemnon.

Mr. Sylvester helped them into the wagon. "Your rooms are
awaiting you," he  said. "Why not come with us?"

"We want to find Mr. Peterkin before we do anything else," said
Mrs. Peterkin.

They rode back in silence, till Elizabeth Eliza said, "Do you
suppose they took  us for paupers?"

"We have not seen any 'they,'" said Solomon John, "except Mr.

At the entrance of the farm-yard Mr. Peterkin met them.

"I have been looking for you," he said. "I have just made a

"We have made it, too," said Elizabeth Eliza; "we are in the

"How did you find it out?" Mrs. Peterkin asked of Mr. Peterkin.

"Mr. Atwood came to me, puzzled with a telegram that had been
brought to him  from the station, which he ought to have got two
days ago. It came from a Mr.

Peters, whom they were expecting here this week, with his wife
and boys, to take  charge of the establishment. He telegraphed to
say he cannot come till Friday.

Now, Mr. Atwood had supposed we were the Peterses, whom he
had sent for the day  we arrived, not having received this

"Oh, I see, I see!" said Mrs. Peterkin; "and we did get into a
muddle at the  station!"

Mr. Atwood met them at the porch. "I beg pardon," he said. "I hope
you have  found it comfortable here, and shall be glad to have you
stay till Mr. Peters'  family comes."

At this moment wheels were heard. Mr. Sylvester had arrived, with
an open wagon,  to take the Peterkins to the "Old Farm."

Martha was waiting within the door, and said to Elizabeth Eliza,
"Beg pardon,  miss, for thinking you was one of the inmates, and
putting you in that room. We  thought it so kind of Mrs. Peters to
take you off every day with the other  gentlemen, that looked so

Elizabeth Eliza did not know whether to laugh or to cry.

Mr. Peterkin and the little boys decided to stay at the farm till
Friday. But  Agamemnon and Solomon John preferred to leave
with Mr. Sylvester, and to take  their electrical machine and
camera when they came for Mr. Peterkin.

Mrs. Peterkin was tempted to stay another night, to be wakened
once more by the  guinea-hens. But Elizabeth Eliza bore her off.
There was not much packing to be  done. She shouted good-by into
the ears of the deaf old lady, and waved her hand  to the foreign
one, and glad to bid farewell to the old men with their pipes, 
leaning against the porch.

"This time," she said, "it is not our trunks that were lost"

"But we, as a family," said Mrs. Peterkin.

End of the Project Gutenberg Etext of The Peterkin Papers,
by Lucretia P. Hale


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