Infomotions, Inc.Rudder Grange / Stockton, Frank Richard, 1834-1902



Author: Stockton, Frank Richard, 1834-1902
Title: Rudder Grange
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): euphemia; pomona; rudder grange; boarder
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Rudder Grange

by Frank R. Stockton

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RUDDER GRANGE

by Frank R. Stockton




CONTENTS


CHAPTER I.

Treating of a Novel Style of Dwelling-house


CHAPTER II.

Treating of a Novel Style of Boarder


CHAPTER III.

Treating of a Novel Style of Girl


CHAPTER IV.

Treating of a Novel Style of Burglar


CHAPTER V.

Pomona Produces a Partial Revolution in Rudder Grange


CHAPTER VI.

The New Rudder Grange


CHAPTER VII.

Treating of an Unsuccessful Broker and a Dog


CHAPTER VIII.

Pomona Once More


CHAPTER IX.

We Camp Out


CHAPTER X.

Wet Blankets


CHAPTER XI.

The Boarder's Visit


ChAPTER XII.

Lord Edward and the Tree-man


CHAPTER XIII.

Pomona's Novel


CHAPTER XIV.

Pomona takes a Bridal Trip


CHAPTER XV.

In which two New Friends disport themselves


CHAPTER XVI.

In which an Old Friend appears, and the Bridal Trip takes a Fresh
Start


CHAPTER XVII.

In which we take a Vacation and look for David Dutton


CHAPTER XVIII.

Our Tavern


CHAPTER XIX.

The Baby at Rudder Grange


CHAPTER XX.

The Other Baby at Rudder Grange



RUDDER GRANGE.


CHAPTER I.

TREATING OF A NOVEL STYLE OF DWELLING HOUSE.


For some months after our marriage, Euphemia and I boarded.  But we
did not like it.  Indeed, there was no reason why we should like
it.  Euphemia said that she never felt at home except when she was
out, which feeling, indicating such an excessively unphilosophic
state of mind, was enough to make me desire to have a home of my
own, where, except upon rare and exceptional occasions, my wife
would never care to go out.

If you should want to rent a house, there are three ways to find
one.  One way is to advertise; another is to read the
advertisements of other people.  This is a comparatively cheap way.
A third method is to apply to an agent.  But none of these plans
are worth anything.  The proper way is to know some one who will
tell you of a house that will exactly suit you.  Euphemia and I
thoroughly investigated this matter, and I know that what I say is
a fact.

We tried all the plans.  When we advertised, we had about a dozen
admirable answers, but in these, although everything seemed to
suit, the amount of rent was not named.  (None of those in which
the rent was named would do at all.)  And when I went to see the
owners, or agents of these suitable houses, they asked much higher
rents than those mentioned in the unavailable answers--and this,
notwithstanding the fact that they always asserted that their terms
were either very reasonable or else greatly reduced on account of
the season being advanced.  (It was now the fifteenth of May.)

Euphemia and I once wrote a book,--this was just before we were
married,--in which we told young married people how to go to
housekeeping and how much it would cost them.  We knew all about
it, for we had asked several people.  Now the prices demanded as
yearly rental for small furnished houses, by the owners and agents
of whom I have been speaking, were, in many cases, more than we had
stated a house could be bought and furnished for!

The advertisements of other people did not serve any better.  There
was always something wrong about the houses when we made close
inquiries, and the trouble was generally in regard to the rent.
With agents we had a little better fortune.  Euphemia sometimes
went with me on my expeditions to real estate offices, and she
remarked that these offices were always in the basement, or else
you had to go up to them in an elevator.  There was nothing between
these extremes.  And it was a good deal the same way, she said,
with their houses.  They were all very low indeed in price and
quality, or else too high.

One trouble was that we wanted a house in a country place, not very
far from the city, and not very far from the railroad station or
steamboat landing.  We also wanted the house to be nicely shaded
and fully furnished, and not to be in a malarial neighborhood, or
one infested by mosquitoes.

"If we do go to housekeeping," said Euphemia, "we might as well get
a house to suit us while we are about it.  Moving is more expensive
than a fire."

There was one man who offered us a house that almost suited us.  It
was near the water, had rooms enough, and some--but not very much--
ground, and was very accessible to the city.  The rent, too, was
quite reasonable.  But the house was unfurnished.  The agent,
however, did not think that this would present any obstacle to our
taking it.  He was sure that the owner would furnish it if we paid
him ten per cent, on the value of the furniture he put into it.  We
agreed that if the landlord would do this and let us furnish the
house according to the plans laid down in our book, that we would
take the house.  But unfortunately this arrangement did not suit
the landlord, although he was in the habit of furnishing houses for
tenants and charging them ten per cent. on the cost.

I saw him myself and talked to him about it.

"But you see," said he, when I had shown him our list of articles
necessary for the furnishing of a house, "it would not pay me to
buy all these things, and rent them out to you.  If you only wanted
heavy furniture, which would last for years, the plan would answer,
but you want everything.  I believe the small conveniences you have
on this list come to more money than the furniture and carpets."

"Oh, yes," said I.  "We are not so very particular about furniture
and carpets, but these little conveniences are the things that make
housekeeping pleasant, and,--speaking from a common-sense point of
view,--profitable."

"That may be," he answered, "but I can't afford to make matters
pleasant and profitable for you in that way.  Now, then, let us
look at one or two particulars.  Here, on your list, is an ice-
pick: twenty-five cents.  Now, if I buy that ice-pick and rent it
to you at two and a-half cents a year, I shall not get my money
back unless it lasts you ten years.  And even then, as it is not
probable that I can sell that ice-pick after you have used it for
ten years, I shall have made nothing at all by my bargain.  And
there are other things in that list, such as feather-dusters and
lamp-chimneys, that couldn't possibly last ten years.  Don't you
see my position?"

I saw it.  We did not get that furnished house.  Euphemia was
greatly disappointed.

"It would have been just splendid," she said, "to have taken our
book and have ordered all these things at the stores, one after
another, without even being obliged to ask the price."

I had my private doubts in regard to this matter of price.  I am
afraid that Euphemia generally set down the lowest price and the
best things.  She did not mean to mislead, and her plan certainly
made our book attractive.  But it did not work very well in
practice.  We have a friend who undertook to furnish her house by
our book, and she never could get the things as cheaply as we had
them quoted.

"But you see," said Euphemia, to her, "we had to put them down at
very low prices, because the model house we speak of in the book is
to be entirely furnished for just so much."

But, in spite of this explanation, the lady was not satisfied.

We found ourselves obliged to give up the idea of a furnished
house.  We would have taken an unfurnished one and furnished it
ourselves, but we had not money enough.  We were dreadfully afraid
that we should have to continue to board.

It was now getting on toward summer, at least there was only a part
of a month of spring left, and whenever I could get off from my
business Euphemia and I made little excursions into the country
round about the city.  One afternoon we went up the river, and
there we saw a sight that transfixed us, as it were.  On the bank,
a mile or so above the city, stood a canal-boat.  I say stood,
because it was so firmly imbedded in the ground by the river-side,
that it would have been almost as impossible to move it as to have
turned the Sphinx around.  This boat we soon found was inhabited by
an oyster-man and his family.  They had lived there for many years
and were really doing quite well.  The boat was divided, inside,
into rooms, and these were papered and painted and nicely
furnished.  There was a kitchen, a living-room, a parlor and
bedrooms.  There were all sorts of conveniences--carpets on the
floors, pictures, and everything, at least so it seemed to us, to
make a home comfortable.  This was not all done at once, the
oyster-man told me.  They had lived there for years and had
gradually added this and that until the place was as we saw it.  He
had an oyster-bed out in the river and he made cider in the winter,
but where he got the apples I don't know.  There was really no
reason why he should not get rich in time.

Well, we went all over that house and we praised everything so much
that the oyster-man's wife was delighted, and when we had some
stewed oysters afterward,--eating them at a little table under a
tree near by,--I believe that she picked out the very largest
oysters she had, to stew for us.  When we had finished our supper
and had paid for it, and were going down to take our little boat
again,--for we had rowed up the river,--Euphemia stopped and looked
around her.  Then she clasped her hands and exclaimed in an
ecstatic undertone:

"We must have a canal-boat!"

And she never swerved from that determination.

After I had seriously thought over the matter, I could see no good
reason against adopting this plan.  It would certainly be a cheap
method of living, and it would really be housekeeping.  I grew more
and more in favor of it.  After what the oyster-man had done, what
might not we do?  HE had never written a book on housekeeping, nor,
in all probability, had he considered the matter, philosophically,
for one moment in all his life.

But it was not an easy thing to find a canal-boat.  There were none
advertised for rent--at least, not for housekeeping purposes.

We made many inquiries and took many a long walk along the water-
courses in the vicinity of the city, but all in vain.  Of course,
we talked a great deal about our project and our friends became
greatly interested in it, and, of course, too, they gave us a great
deal of advice, but we didn't mind that.  We were philosophical
enough to know that you can't have shad without bones.  They were
good friends and, by being careful in regard to the advice, it
didn't interfere with our comfort.

We were beginning to be discouraged, at least Euphemia was.  Her
discouragement is like water-cresses, it generally comes up in a
very short time after she sows her wishes.  But then it withers
away rapidly, which is a comfort.  One evening we were sitting,
rather disconsolately, in our room, and I was reading out the
advertisements of country board in a newspaper, when in rushed Dr.
Heare--one of our old friends.  He was so full of something that he
had to say that he didn't even ask us how we were.  In fact, he
didn't appear to want to know.

"I tell you what it is," said he, "I have found just the very thing
you want."

"A canal-boat?" I cried.

"Yes," said he, "a canal-boat."

"Furnished?" asked Euphemia, her eyes glistening.

"Well, no," answered the doctor, "I don't think you could expect
that."

"But we can't live on the bare floor," said Euphemia; "our house
MUST be furnished."

"Well, then, I suppose this won't do," said the doctor, ruefully,
"for there isn't so much as a boot-jack in it.  It has most things
that are necessary for a boat, but it hasn't anything that you
could call house-furniture; but, dear me, I should think you could
furnish it very cheaply and comfortably out of your book."

"Very true," said Euphemia, "if we could pick out the cheapest
things and then get some folks to buy a lot of the books."

"We could begin with very little," said I, trying hard to keep
calm.

"Certainly," said the doctor, "you need make no more rooms, at
first, than you could furnish."

"Then there are no rooms," said Euphemia.

"No, there is nothing but one vast apartment extending from stem to
stern."

"Won't it be glorious!" said Euphemia to me.  "We can first make a
kitchen, and then a dining-room, and a bedroom, and then a parlor--
just in the order in which our book says they ought to be
furnished."

"Glorious!" I cried, no longer able to contain my enthusiasm; "I
should think so.  Doctor, where is this canal-boat?"

The doctor then went into a detailed statement.  The boat was
stranded on the shore of the Scoldsbury river not far below Ginx's.
We knew where Ginx's was, because we had spent a very happy day
there, during our honeymoon.

The boat was a good one, but superannuated.  That, however, did not
interfere with its usefulness as a dwelling.  We could get it--the
doctor had seen the owner--for a small sum per annum, and here was
positively no end to its capabilities.

We sat up until twenty minutes past two, talking about that house.
We ceased to call it a boat at about a quarter of eleven.

The next day I "took" the boat and paid a month's rent in advance.
Three days afterward we moved into it.

We had not much to move, which was a comfort, looking at it from
one point of view.  A carpenter had put up two partitions in it
which made three rooms--a kitchen, a dining-room and a very long
bedroom, which was to be cut up into a parlor, study, spare-room,
etc., as soon as circumstances should allow, or my salary should be
raised.  Originally, all the doors and windows were in the roof, so
to speak, but our landlord allowed us to make as many windows to
the side of the boat as we pleased, provided we gave him the wood
we cut out.  It saved him trouble, he said, but I did not
understand him at the time.  Accordingly, the carpenter made
several windows for us, and put in sashes, which opened on hinges
like the hasp of a trunk.  Our furniture did not amount to much, at
first.  The very thought of living in this independent, romantic
way was so delightful, Euphemia said, that furniture seemed a mere
secondary matter.

We were obliged indeed to give up the idea of following the plan
detailed in our book, because we hadn't the sum upon which the
furnishing of a small house was therein based.

"And if we haven't the money," remarked Euphemia, "it would be of
no earthly use to look at the book.  It would only make us doubt
our own calculations.  You might as well try to make brick without
mortar, as the children of Israel did."

"I could do that myself, my dear," said I, "but we won't discuss
that subject now.  We will buy just what we absolutely need, and
then work up from that."

Acting on this plan, we bought first a small stove, because
Euphemia said that we could sleep on the floor, if it were
necessary, but we couldn't make a fire on the floor--at least not
often.  Then we got a table and two chairs.  The next thing we
purchased was some hanging shelves for our books, and Euphemia
suddenly remembered the kitchen things.  These, which were few,
with some crockery, nearly brought us to the end of our resources,
but we had enough for a big easy-chair which Euphemia was
determined I should have, because I really needed it when I came
home at night, tired with my long day's work at the office.  I had
always been used to an easy-chair, and it was one of her most
delightful dreams to see me in a real nice one, comfortably smoking
my pipe in my own house, after eating my own delicious little
supper in company with my own dear wife.  We selected the chair,
and then we were about to order the things sent out to our future
home, when I happened to think that we had no bed.  I called
Euphemia's attention to the fact.

She was thunderstruck.

"I never thought of that," she said.  "We shall have to give up the
stove."

"Not at all," said I, "we can't do that.  We must give up the easy-
chair."

"Oh, that would be too bad," said she.  "The house would seem like
nothing to me without the chair!"

"But we must do without it, my dear," said I, "at least for a
while.  I can sit out on deck and smoke of an evening, you know."

"Yes," said Euphemia.  "You can sit on the bulwarks and I can sit
by you.  That will do very well.  I'm sure I'm glad the boat has
bulwarks."

So we resigned the easy-chair and bought a bedstead and some very
plain bedding.  The bedstead was what is sometimes called a
"scissors-bed."  We could shut it up when we did not want to sleep
in it, and stand it against the wall.

When we packed up our trunks and left the boarding-house Euphemia
fairly skipped with joy.

We went down to Ginx's in the first boat, having arranged that our
furniture should be sent to us in the afternoon.  We wanted to be
there to receive it.  The trip was just wildly delirious.  The air
was charming.  The sun was bright, and I had a whole holiday.  When
we reached Ginx's we found that the best way to get our trunks and
ourselves to our house was to take a carriage, and so we took one.
I told the driver to drive along the river road and I would tell
him where to stop.

When we reached our boat, and had alighted, I said to the driver:

"You can just put our trunks inside, anywhere."

The man looked at the trunks and then looked at the boat.
Afterward he looked at me.

"That boat ain't goin' anywhere," said he.

"I should think not," said Euphemia.  "We shouldn't want to live in
it, if it were."

"You are going to live in it?" said the man.

"Yes," said Euphemia.

"Oh!" said the man, and he took our trunks on board, without
another word.

It was not very easy for him to get the trunks into our new home.
In fact it was not easy for us to get there ourselves.  There was a
gang-plank, with a rail on one side of it, which inclined from the
shore to the deck of the boat at an angle of forty-five degrees,
and when the man had staggered up this plank with the trunks
(Euphemia said I ought to have helped him, but I really thought
that it would be better for one person to fall off the plank than
for two to go over together), and we had paid him, and he had
driven away in a speechless condition, we scrambled up and stood
upon the threshold, or, rather, the after-deck of our home.

It was a proud moment.  Euphemia glanced around, her eyes full of
happy tears, and then she took my arm and we went down stairs--at
least we tried to go down in that fashion, but soon found it
necessary to go one at a time.  We wandered over the whole extent
of our mansion and found that our carpenter had done his work
better than the woman whom we had engaged to scrub and clean the
house.  Something akin to despair must have seized upon her, for
Euphemia declared that the floors looked dirtier than on the
occasion of her first visit, when we rented the boat.

But that didn't discourage us.  We felt sure that we should get it
clean in time.

Early in the afternoon our furniture arrived, together with the
other things we had bought, and the men who brought them over from
the steamboat landing had the brightest, merriest faces I ever
noticed among that class of people.  Euphemia said it was an
excellent omen to have such cheerful fellows come to us on the very
first day of our housekeeping.

Then we went to work.  I put up the stove, which was not much
trouble, as there was a place all ready in the deck for the stove-
pipe to be run through.  Euphemia was somewhat surprised at the
absence of a chimney, but I assured her that boats were very seldom
built with chimneys.  My dear little wife bustled about and
arranged the pots and kettles on nails that I drove into the
kitchen walls.  Then she made the bed in the bed-room and I hung up
a looking-glass and a few little pictures that we had brought in
our trunks.

Before four o'clock our house was in order.  Then we began to be
very hungry.

"My dear," said Euphemia, "we ought to have thought to bring
something to cook."

"That is very true," said I, "but I think perhaps we had better
walk up to Ginx's and get our supper to-night.  You see we are so
tired and hungry."

"What!" cried Euphemia, "go to a hotel the very first day?  I think
it would be dreadful!  Why, I have been looking forward to this
first meal with the greatest delight.  You can go up to the little
store by the hotel and buy some things and I will cook them, and we
will have our first dear little meal here all alone by ourselves,
at our own table and in our own house."

So this was determined upon and, after a hasty counting of the fund
I had reserved for moving and kindred expenses, and which had been
sorely depleted during the day, I set out, and in about an hour
returned with my first marketing.

I made a fire, using a lot of chips and blocks the carpenter had
left, and Euphemia cooked the supper, and we ate it from our little
table, with two large towels for a table-cloth.

It was the most delightful meal I ever ate!

And, when we had finished, Euphemia washed the dishes (the
thoughtful creature had put some water on the stove to heat for the
purpose, while we were at supper) and then we went on deck, or on
the piazza, as Euphemia thought we had better call it, and there we
had our smoke.  I say WE, for Euphemia always helps me to smoke by
sitting by me, and she seems to enjoy it as much as I do.

And when the shades of evening began to gather around us, I hauled
in the gang-plank (just like a delightful old draw-bridge, Euphemia
said, although I hope for the sake of our ancestors that draw-
bridges were easier to haul in) and went to bed.

It is lucky we were tired and wanted to go to bed early, for we had
forgotten all about lamps or candles.

For the next week we were two busy and happy people.  I rose about
half-past five and made the fire,--we found so much wood on the
shore, that I thought I should not have to add fuel to my
expenses,--and Euphemia cooked the breakfast.  I then went to a
well belonging to a cottage near by where we had arranged for
water-privileges, and filled two buckets with delicious water and
carried them home for Euphemia's use through the day.  Then I
hurried off to catch the train, for, as there was a station near
Ginx's, I ceased to patronize the steamboat, the hours of which
were not convenient.  After a day of work and pleasurable
anticipation at the office, I hastened back to my home, generally
laden with a basket of provisions and various household
necessities.  Milk was brought to us daily from the above-mentioned
cottage by a little toddler who seemed just able to carry the small
tin bucket which held a lacteal pint.  If the urchin had been the
child of rich parents, as Euphemia sometimes observed, he would
have been in his nurse's arms--but being poor, he was scarcely
weaned before he began to carry milk around to other people.

After I reached home came supper and the delightful evening hours,
when over my pipe (I had given up cigars, as being too expensive
and inappropriate, and had taken to a tall pipe and canaster
tobacco) we talked and planned, and told each other our day's
experience.

One of our earliest subjects of discussion was the name of our
homestead.  Euphemia insisted that it should have a name.  I was
quite willing, but we found it no easy matter to select an
appropriate title.  I proposed a number of appellations intended to
suggest the character of our home.  Among these were: "Safe
Ashore," "Firmly Grounded," and some other names of that style, but
Euphemia did not fancy any of them.  She wanted a suitable name, of
course, she said, but it must be something that would SOUND like a
house and BE like a boat.

"Partitionville," she objected to, and "Gangplank Terrace," did not
suit her because it suggested convicts going out to work, which
naturally was unpleasant.

At last, after days of talk and cogitation, we named our house
"Rudder Grange."

To be sure, it wasn't exactly a grange, but then it had such an
enormous rudder that the justice of that part of the title seemed
to over-balance any little inaccuracy in the other portion.

But we did not spend all our spare time in talking.  An hour or
two, every evening was occupied in what we called "fixing the
house," and gradually the inside of our abode began to look like a
conventional dwelling.  We put matting on the floors and cheap but
very pretty paper on the walls.  We added now a couple of chairs,
and now a table or something for the kitchen.  Frequently,
especially of a Sunday, we had company, and our guests were always
charmed with Euphemia's cunning little meals.  The dear girl loved
good eating so much that she could scarcely fail to be a good cook.

We worked hard, and were very happy.  And thus the weeks passed on.



CHAPTER II.

TREATING OF A NOVEL STYLE OF BOARDER.


In this delightful way of living, only one thing troubled us.  We
didn't save any money.  There were so many little things that we
wanted, and so many little things that were so cheap, that I spent
pretty much all I made, and that was far from the philosophical
plan of living that I wished to follow.

We talked this matter over a great deal after we had lived in our
new home for about a month, and we came at last to the conclusion
that we would take a boarder.

We had no trouble in getting a boarder, for we had a friend, a
young man who was engaged in the flour business, who was very
anxious to come and live with us.  He had been to see us two or
three times, and had expressed himself charmed with our household
arrangements.

So we made terms with him.  The carpenter partitioned off another
room, and our boarder brought his trunk and a large red velvet arm-
chair, and took up his abode at "Rudder Grange."

We liked our boarder very much, but he had some peculiarities.  I
suppose everybody has them.  Among other things, he was very fond
of telling us what we ought to do.  He suggested more improvements
in the first three days of his sojourn with us than I had thought
of since we commenced housekeeping.  And what made the matter
worse, his suggestions were generally very good ones.  Had it been
otherwise I might have borne his remarks more complacently, but to
be continually told what you ought to do, and to know that you
ought to do it, is extremely annoying.

He was very anxious that I should take off the rudder, which was
certainly useless to a boat situated as ours was, and make an
ironing-table of it.  I persisted that the laws of symmetrical
propriety required that the rudder should remain where it was--that
the very name of our home would be interfered with by its removal,
but he insisted that "Ironing-table Grange" would be just as good a
name, and that symmetrical propriety in such a case did not amount
to a row of pins.

The result was, that we did have the ironing-table, and that
Euphemia was very much pleased with it.  A great many other
improvements were projected and carried out by him, and I was very
much worried.  He made a flower-garden for Euphemia on the extreme
forward-deck, and having borrowed a wheelbarrow, he wheeled dozens
of loads of arable dirt up our gang-plank and dumped them out on
the deck.  When he had covered the garden with a suitable depth of
earth, he smoothed it off and then planted flower-seeds.  It was
rather late in the season, but most of them came up.  I was pleased
with the garden, but sorry I had not made it myself.

One afternoon I got away from the office considerably earlier than
usual, and I hurried home to enjoy the short period of daylight
that I should have before supper.  It had been raining the day
before, and as the bottom of our garden leaked so that earthy water
trickled down at one end of our bed-room, I intended to devote a
short time to stuffing up the cracks in the ceiling or bottom of
the deck--whichever seems the most appropriate.

But when I reached a bend in the river road, whence I always had
the earliest view of my establishment, I did not have that view.  I
hurried on.  The nearer I approached the place where I lived, the
more horror-stricken I became.  There was no mistaking the fact.

The boat was not there!

In an instant the truth flashed upon me.

The water was very high--the rain had swollen the river--my house
had floated away!

It was Wednesday.  On Wednesday afternoons our boarder came home
early.

I clapped my hat tightly on my head and ground my teeth.

"Confound that boarder!" I thought.  "He has been fooling with the
anchor.  He always said it was of no use, and taking advantage of
my absence, he has hauled it up, and has floated away, and has
gone--gone with my wife and my home!"

Euphemia and "Rudder Grange" had gone off together--where I knew
not,--and with them that horrible suggester!

I ran wildly along the bank.  I called aloud, I shouted and hailed
each passing craft--of which there were only two--but their crews
must have been very inattentive to the woes of landsmen, or else
they did not hear me, for they paid no attention to my cries.

I met a fellow with an axe on his shoulder.  I shouted to him
before I reached him:

"Hello! did you see a boat--a house, I mean,--floating up the
river?"

"A boat-house?" asked the man.

"No, a house-boat," I gasped.

"Didn't see nuthin' like it," said the man, and he passed on, to
his wife and home, no doubt.  But me!  Oh, where was my wife and my
home?

I met several people, but none of them had seen a fugitive canal-
boat.

How many thoughts came into my brain as I ran along that river
road!  If that wretched boarder had not taken the rudder for an
ironing table he might have steered in shore!  Again and again I
confounded--as far as mental ejaculations could do it--his
suggestions.

I was rapidly becoming frantic when I met a person who hailed me.

"Hello!" he said, "are you after a canal-boat adrift?"

"Yes," I panted.

"I thought you was," he said.  "You looked that way.  Well, I can
tell you where she is.  She's stuck fast in the reeds at the lower
end o' Peter's Pint."

"Where's that?" said I.

"Oh, it's about a mile furder up.  I seed her a-driftin' up with
the tide--big flood tide, to-day--and I thought I'd see somebody
after her, afore long.  Anything aboard?"

Anything!

I could not answer the man.  Anything, indeed!  I hurried on up the
river without a word.  Was the boat a wreck?  I scarcely dared to
think of it.  I scarcely dared to think at all.

The man called after me and I stopped.  I could but stop, no matter
what I might hear.

"Hello, mister," he said, "got any tobacco?"

I walked up to him.  I took hold of him by the lapel of his coat.
It was a dirty lapel, as I remember even now, but I didn't mind
that.

"Look here," said I.  "Tell me the truth, I can bear it.  Was that
vessel wrecked?"

The man looked at me a little queerly.  I could not exactly
interpret his expression.

"You're sure you kin bear it?" said he.

"Yes," said I, my hand trembling as I held his coat.

"Well, then," said he, "it's mor'n I kin," and he jerked his coat
out of my hand, and sprang away.  When he reached the other side of
the road, he turned and shouted at me, as though I had been deaf.

"Do you know what I think?" he yelled.  "I think you're a darned
lunatic," and with that he went his way.

I hastened on to Peter's Point.  Long before I reached it, I saw
the boat.

It was apparently deserted.  But still I pressed on.  I must know
the worst.  When I reached the Point, I found that the boat had run
aground, with her head in among the long reeds and mud, and the
rest of her hull lying at an angle from the shore.

There was consequently no way for me to get on board, but to wade
through the mud and reeds to her bow, and then climb up as well as
I could.

This I did, but it was not easy to do.  Twice I sank above my knees
in mud and water, and had it not been for reeds, masses of which I
frequently clutched when I thought I was going over, I believe I
should have fallen down and come to my death in that horrible
marsh.  When I reached the boat, I stood up to my hips in water and
saw no way of climbing up.  The gang-plank had undoubtedly floated
away, and if it had not, it would have been of no use to me in my
position.

But I was desperate.  I clasped the post that they put in the bow
of canal-boats; I stuck my toes and my finger-nails in the cracks
between the boards--how glad I was that the boat was an old one and
had cracks!--and so, painfully and slowly, slipping part way down
once or twice, and besliming myself from chin to foot, I climbed up
that post and scrambled upon deck.  In an instant, I reached the
top of the stairs, and in another instant I rushed below.

There sat my wife and our boarder, one on each side of the dining-
room table, complacently playing checkers!

My sudden entrance startled them.  My appearance startled them
still more.

Euphemia sprang to her feet and tottered toward me.

"Mercy!" she exclaimed; "has anything happened?"

"Happened!" I gasped.

"Look here," cried the boarder, clutching me by the arm, "what a
condition you're in.  Did you fall in?"

"Fall in!" said I.

Euphemia and the boarder looked at each other.  I looked at them.
Then I opened my mouth in earnest.

"I suppose you don't know," I yelled, "that you have drifted away!"

"By George!" cried the boarder, and in two bounds he was on deck.

Dirty as I was, Euphemia fell into my arms.  I told her all.  She
hadn't known a bit of it!

The boat had so gently drifted off, and had so gently grounded
among the reeds, that the voyage had never so much as disturbed
their games of checkers.

"He plays such a splendid game," Euphemia sobbed, "and just as you
came, I thought I was going to beat him.  I had two kings and two
pieces on the next to last row, and you are nearly drowned.  You'll
get your death of cold--and--and he had only one king."

She led me away and I undressed and washed myself and put on my
Sunday clothes.

When I reappeared I went out on deck with Euphemia.  The boarder
was there, standing by the petunia bed.  His arms were folded and
he was thinking profoundly.  As we approached, he turned toward us.

"You were right about that anchor," he said, "I should not have
hauled it in; but it was such a little anchor that I thought it
would be of more use on board as a garden hoe."

"A very little anchor will sometimes do very well," said I,
cuttingly, "when it is hooked around a tree."

"Yes, there is something in that," said he.

It was now growing late, and as our agitation subsided we began to
be hungry.  Fortunately, we had everything necessary on board, and,
as it really didn't make any difference in our household economy,
where we happened to be located, we had supper quite as usual.  In
fact, the kettle had been put on to boil during the checker-
playing.

After supper, we went on deck to smoke, as was our custom, but
there was a certain coolness between me and our boarder.

Early the next morning I arose and went upstairs to consider what
had better be done, when I saw the boarder standing on shore, near
by.

"Hello!" he cried, "the tide's down and I got ashore without any
trouble.  You stay where you are.  I've hired a couple of mules to
tow the boat back.  They'll be here when the tide rises.  And,
hello!  I've found the gang-plank.  It floated ashore about a
quarter of a mile below here."

In the course of the afternoon the mules and two men with a long
rope appeared, and we were then towed back to where we belonged.

And we are there yet.  Our boarder remains with us, as the weather
is still fine, and the coolness between us is gradually
diminishing.  But the boat is moored at both ends, and twice a day
I look to see if the ropes are all right.

The petunias are growing beautifully, but the geraniums do not seem
to flourish.  Perhaps there is not a sufficient depth of earth for
them.  Several times our boarder has appeared to be on the point of
suggesting something in regard to them, but, for some reason or
other, he says nothing.



CHAPTER III.

TREATING OF A NOVEL STYLE OF GIRL.


One afternoon, as I was hurrying down Broadway to catch the five
o'clock train, I met Waterford.  He is an old friend of mine, and I
used to like him pretty well.

"Hello!" said he, "where are you going?"

"Home," I answered.

"Is that so?" said he.  "I didn't know you had one."

I was a little nettled at this, and so I said, somewhat brusquely
perhaps:

"But you must have known I lived somewhere."

"Oh, yes!  But I thought you boarded," said he.  "I had no idea
that you had a home."

"But I have one, and a very pleasant home, too.  You must excuse me
for not stopping longer, as I must catch my train."

"Oh! I'll walk along with you," said Waterford, and so we went down
the street together.

"Where is your little house?" he asked.

Why in the world he thought it was a little house I could not at
the time imagine, unless he supposed that two people would not
require a large one.  But I know, now, that he lived in a very
little house himself.

But it was of no use getting angry with Waterford, especially as I
saw he intended walking all the way down to the ferry with me, so I
told him I didn't live in any house at all.

"Why, where DO you live?" he exclaimed, stopping short.

"I live in a boat," said I.

"A boat!  A sort of 'Rob Roy' arrangement, I suppose.  Well, I
would not have thought that of you.  And your wife, I suppose, has
gone home to her people?"

"She has done nothing of the kind," I answered.  "She lives with
me, and she likes it very much.  We are extremely comfortable, and
our boat is not a canoe, or any such nonsensical affair.  It is a
large, commodious canal-boat."

Waterford turned around and looked at me.

"Are you a deck-hand?" he asked.

"Deck-grandmother!" I exclaimed.

"Well, you needn't get mad about it," he said.  "I didn't mean to
hurt your feelings; but I couldn't see what else you could be on a
canal-boat.  I don't suppose, for instance, that you're captain."

"But I am," said I.

"Look here!" said Waterford; "this is coming it rather strong,
isn't it?"

As I saw he was getting angry, I told him all about it,--told him
how we had hired a stranded canal-boat and had fitted it up as a
house, and how we lived so cosily in it, and had called it "Rudder
Grange," and how we had taken a boarder.

"Well!" said he, "this is certainly surprising.  I'm coming out to
see you some day.  It will be better than going to Barnum's."

I told him--it is the way of society--that we would be glad to see
him, and we parted.  Waterford never did come to see us, and I
merely mention this incident to show how some of our friends talked
about Rudder Grange, when they first heard that we lived there.

After dinner that evening, when I went up on deck with Euphemia to
have my smoke, we saw the boarder sitting on the bulwarks near the
garden, with his legs dangling down outside.

"Look here!" said he.

I looked, but there was nothing unusual to see.

"What is it?" I asked.

He turned around and seeing Euphemia, said:

"Nothing."

It would be a very stupid person who could not take such a hint as
that, and so, after a walk around the garden, Euphemia took
occasion to go below to look at the kitchen fire.

As soon as she had gone, the boarder turned to me and said:

"I'll tell you what it is.  She's working herself sick."

"Sick?" said I.  "Nonsense!"

"No nonsense about it," he replied.

The truth was, that the boarder was right and I was wrong.  We had
spent several months at Rudder Grange, and during this time
Euphemia had been working very hard, and she really did begin to
look pale and thin.  Indeed, it would be very wearying for any
woman of culture and refinement, unused to house-work, to cook and
care for two men, and to do all the work of a canal-boat besides.

But I saw Euphemia so constantly, and thought so much of her, and
had her image so continually in my heart, that I did not notice
this until our boarder now called my attention to it.  I was sorry
that he had to do it.

"If I were in your place," said he, "I would get her a servant."

"If you were in my place," I replied, somewhat cuttingly, "you
would probably suggest a lot of little things which would make
everything very easy for her."

"I'd try to," he answered, without getting in the least angry.

Although I felt annoyed that he had suggested it, still I made up
my mind that Euphemia must have a servant.

She agreed quite readily when I proposed the plan, and she urged me
to go and see the carpenter that very day, and get him to come and
partition off a little room for the girl.

It was some time, of course, before the room was made (for who ever
heard of a carpenter coming at the very time he was wanted?) and,
when it was finished, Euphemia occupied all her spare moments in
getting it in nice order for the servant when she should come.  I
thought she was taking too much trouble, but she had her own ideas
about such things.

"If a girl is lodged like a pig, you must expect her to behave like
a pig, and I don't want that kind."

So she put up pretty curtains at the girl's window, and with a box
that she stood on end, and some old muslin and a lot of tacks, she
made a toilet-table so neat and convenient that I thought she ought
to take it into our room and give the servant our wash-stand.

But all this time we had no girl, and as I had made up my mind
about the matter, I naturally grew impatient, and at last I
determined to go and get a girl myself.

So, one day at lunch-time, I went to an intelligence office in the
city.  There I found a large room on the second floor, and some
ladies, and one or two men, sitting about, and a small room, back
of it, crowded with girls from eighteen to sixty-eight years old.
There were also girls upon the stairs, and girls in the hall below,
besides some girls standing on the sidewalk before the door.

When I made known my business and had paid my fee, one of the
several proprietors who were wandering about the front room went
into the back apartment and soon returned with a tall Irishwoman
with a bony weather-beaten face and a large weather-beaten shawl.
This woman was told to take a chair by my side.  Down sat the huge
creature and stared at me.  I did not feel very easy under her
scrutinizing gaze, but I bore it as best I could, and immediately
began to ask her all the appropriate questions that I could think
of.  Some she answered satisfactorily, and some she didn't answer
at all; but as soon as I made a pause, she began to put questions
herself.

"How many servants do you kape?" she asked.

I answered that we intended to get along with one, and if she
understood her business, I thought she would find her work very
easy, and the place a good one.

She turned sharp upon me and said:

"Have ye stationary wash-tubs?"

I hesitated.  I knew our wash-tubs were not stationary, for I had
helped to carry them about.  But they might be screwed fast and
made stationary if that was an important object.  But, before
making this answer, I thought of the great conveniences for washing
presented by our residence, surrounded as it was, at high tide, by
water.

"Why, we live in a stationary wash-tub," I said, smiling.

The woman looked at me steadfastly for a minute, and then she rose
to her feet.  Then she called out, as if she were crying fish or
strawberries:

"Mrs. Blaine!"

The female keeper of the intelligence office, and the male keeper,
and a thin clerk, and all the women in the back room, and all the
patrons in the front room, jumped up and gathered around us.

Astonished and somewhat disconcerted, I rose to my feet and
confronted the tall Irishwoman, and stood smiling in an uncertain
sort of a way, as if it were all very funny; but I couldn't see the
point.  I think I must have impressed the people with the idea that
I wished I hadn't come.

"He says," exclaimed the woman, as if some other huckster were
crying fish on the other side of the street--"he says he lives in a
wash-toob."

"He's crazy!" ejaculated Mrs. Blaine, with an air that indicated
"policeman" as plainly as if she had put her thought into words.

A low murmur ran through the crowd of women, while the thin clerk
edged toward the door.

I saw there was no time to lose.  I stepped back a little from the
tall savage, who was breathing like a hot-air engine in front of
me, and made my explanations to the company.  I told the tale of
"Rudder Grange," and showed them how it was like to a stationary
wash-tub--at certain stages of the tide.

I was listened to with great attention.  When I had finished, the
tall woman turned around and faced the assemblage.

"An' he wants a cook to make soup!  In a canal-boat!" said she, and
off she marched into the back-room, followed closely by all the
other women.

"I don't think we have any one here who would suit you," said Mrs.
Blaine.

I didn't think so either.  What on earth would Euphemia have done
with that volcanic Irishwoman in her little kitchen!  I took up my
hat and bade Mrs. Blaine good morning.

"Good morning," said she, with a distressing smile.

She had one of those mouths that look exactly like a gash in the
face.

I went home without a girl.  In a day or two Euphemia came to town
and got one.  Apparently she got her without any trouble, but I am
not sure.

She went to a "Home"--Saint Somebody's Home--a place where they
keep orphans to let, so to speak.  Here Euphemia selected a light-
haired, medium-sized orphan, and brought her home.

The girl's name was Pomona.  Whether or not her parents gave her
this name is doubtful.  At any rate, she did not seem quite decided
in her mind about it herself, for she had not been with us more
than two weeks before she expressed a desire to be called Clare.
This longing of her heart, however, was denied her.  So Euphemia,
who was always correct, called her Pomona.  I did the same whenever
I could think not to say Bologna--which seemed to come very pat for
some reason or other.

As for the boarder, he generally called her Altoona, connecting her
in some way with the process of stopping for refreshments, in which
she was an adept.

She was an earnest, hearty girl.  She was always in a good humor,
and when I asked her to do anything, she assented in a bright,
cheerful way, and in a loud tone full of good-fellowship, as though
she would say:

"Certainly, my high old cock!  To be sure I will.  Don't worry
about it--give your mind no more uneasiness on that subject.  I'll
bring the hot water."

She did not know very much, but she was delighted to learn, and she
was very strong.  Whatever Euphemia told her to do, she did
instantly with a bang.  What pleased her better than anything else
was to run up and down the gang-plank, carrying buckets of water to
water the garden.  She delighted in out-door work, and sometimes
dug so vigorously in our garden that she brought up pieces of the
deck-planking with every shovelful.

Our boarder took the greatest interest in her, and sometimes
watched her movements so intently that he let his pipe go out.

"What a whacking girl that would be to tread out grapes in the
vineyards of Italy!  She'd make wine cheap," he once remarked.

"Then I'm glad she isn't there," said Euphemia, "for wine oughtn't
to be cheap."

Euphemia was a thorough little temperance woman.

The one thing about Pomona that troubled me more than anything else
was her taste for literature.  It was not literature to which I
objected, but her very peculiar taste.  She would read in the
kitchen every night after she had washed the dishes, but if she had
not read aloud, it would not have made so much difference to me.
But I am naturally very sensitive to external impressions, and I do
not like the company of people who, like our girl, cannot read
without pronouncing in a measured and distinct voice every word of
what they are reading.  And when the matter thus read appeals to
one's every sentiment of aversion, and there is no way of escaping
it, the case is hard indeed.

From the first, I felt inclined to order Pomona, if she could not
attain the power of silent perusal, to cease from reading
altogether; but Euphemia would not hear to this.

"Poor thing!" said she; "it would be cruel to take from her her
only recreation.  And she says she can't read any other way.  You
needn't listen if you don't want to."

That was all very well in an abstract point of view; but the fact
was, that in practice, the more I didn't want to listen, the more I
heard.

As the evenings were often cool, we sat in our dining-room, and the
partition between this room and the kitchen seemed to have no
influence whatever in arresting sound.  So that when I was trying
to read or to reflect, it was by no means exhilarating to my mind
to hear from the next room that:

"The la dy ce sel i a now si zed the weep on and all though the
boor ly vil ly an re tain ed his vy gor ous hold she drew the blade
through his fin gers and hoorl ed it far be hind her dryp ping with
jore."

This sort of thing, kept up for an hour or so at a time, used to
drive me nearly wild.  But Euphemia did not mind it.  I believe
that she had so delicate a sense of what was proper, that she did
not hear Pomona's private readings.

On one occasion, even Euphemia's influence could scarcely restrain
me from violent interference.

It was our boarder's night out (when he was detained in town by his
business), and Pomona was sitting up to let him in.  This was
necessary, for our front-door (or main-hatchway) had no night-
latch, but was fastened by means of a bolt.  Euphemia and I used to
sit up for him, but that was earlier in the season, when it was
pleasant to be out on deck until quite a late hour.  But Pomona
never objected to sitting (or getting) up late, and so we allowed
this weekly duty to devolve on her.

On this particular night I was very tired and sleepy, and soon
after I got into bed I dropped into a delightful slumber.  But it
was not long before I was awakened by the fact that:

"Sa rah did not fl inch but gras ped the heat ed i ron in her un in
jur ed hand and when the ra bid an i mal a proach ed she thr ust
the lur id po ker in his--"

"My conscience!" said I to Euphemia, "can't that girl be stopped?"

"You wouldn't have her sit there and do nothing, would you?" said
she.

"No; but she needn't read out that way."

"She can't read any other way," said Euphemia, drowsily.

"Yell af ter yell res oun ded as he wil dly spr rang--"

"I can't stand that, and I won't," said I.  "Why don't she go into
the kitchen?--the dining-room's no place for her."

"She must not sit there," said Euphemia.  "There's a window-pane
out.  Can't you cover up your head?"

"I shall not be able to breathe if I do; but I suppose that's no
matter," I replied.

The reading continued.

"Ha, ha!  Lord Mar mont thun der ed thou too shalt suf fer all that
this poor--"

I sprang out of bed.

Euphemia thought I was going for my pistol, and she gave one bound
and stuck her head out of the door.

"Pomona, fly!" she cried.

"Yes, sma'am," said Pomona; and she got up and flew--not very fast,
I imagine.  Where she flew to I don't know, but she took the lamp
with her, and I could hear distant syllables of agony and blood,
until the boarder came home and Pomona went to bed.

I think that this made an impression upon Euphemia, for, although
she did not speak to me upon the subject (or any other) that night,
the next time I heard Pomona reading, the words ran somewhat thus:

"The as ton ish ing che ap ness of land is ac count ed for by the
want of home mar kets, of good ro ads and che ap me ans of trans
por ta ti on in ma ny sec ti ons of the State."



CHAPTER IV.

TREATING OF A NOVEL STYLE OF BURGLAR.


I have spoken of my pistol.  During the early part of our residence
at Rudder Grange I never thought of such a thing as owning a
pistol.

But it was different now.  I kept a Colt's revolver loaded in the
bureau drawer in our bedroom.

The cause of this change was burglars.  Not that any of these
unpleasant persons had visited us, but we much feared they would.
Several houses in the vicinity had been entered during the past
month, and we could never tell when our turn would come.

To be sure, our boarder suggested that if we were to anchor out a
little further at night, no burglar would risk catching his death
of cold by swimming out to us; but Euphemia having replied that it
would be rather difficult to move a canal-boat every night without
paddle-wheels, or sails, or mules, especially if it were aground,
this plan was considered to be effectually disposed of.

So we made up our minds that we must fasten up everything very
securely, and I bought a pistol and two burglar-alarms.  One of
these I affixed to the most exposed window, and the other to the
door which opened on the deck.  These alarms were very simple
affairs, but they were good enough.  When they were properly
attached to a window or door, and it was opened, a little gong
sounded like a violently deranged clock, striking all the hours of
the day at once.

The window did not trouble us much, but it was rather irksome to
have to make the attachment to the door every night and to take it
off every morning.  However, as Euphemia said, it was better to
take a little trouble than to have the house full of burglars,
which was true enough.

We made all the necessary arrangements in case burglars should make
an inroad upon us.  At the first sound of the alarm, Euphemia and
the girl were to lie flat on the floor or get under their beds.
Then the boarder and I were to stand up, back to back, each with
pistol in hand, and fire away, revolving on a common centre the
while.  In this way, by aiming horizontally at about four feet from
the floor, we could rake the premises, and run no risk of shooting
each other or the women of the family.

To be sure, there were some slight objections to this plan.  The
boarder's room was at some distance from ours, and he would
probably not hear the alarm, and the burglars might not be willing
to wait while I went forward and roused him up, and brought him to
our part of the house.  But this was a minor difficulty.  I had no
doubt but that, if it should be necessary, I could manage to get
our boarder into position in plenty of time.

It was not very long before there was an opportunity of testing the
plan.

About twelve o'clock one night one of the alarms (that on the
kitchen window) went off with a whirr and a wild succession of
clangs.  For a moment I thought the morning train had arrived, and
then I woke up.  Euphemia was already under the bed.

I hurried on a few clothes, and then I tried to find the bureau in
the dark.  This was not easy, as I lost my bearings entirely.  But
I found it at last, got the top drawer open and took out my pistol.
Then I slipped out of the room, hurried up the stairs, opened the
door (setting off the alarm there, by the way), and ran along the
deck (there was a cold night wind), and hastily descended the steep
steps that led into the boarder's room.  The door that was at the
bottom of the steps was not fastened, and, as I opened it, a little
stray moonlight illumed the room.  I hastily stepped to the bed and
shook the boarder by the shoulder.  He kept HIS pistol under his
pillow.

In an instant he was on his feet, his hand grasped my throat, and
the cold muzzle of his Derringer pistol was at my forehead.  It was
an awfully big muzzle, like the mouth of a bottle.

I don't know when I lived so long as during the first minute that
he held me thus.

"Rascal!" he said.  "Do as much as breathe, and I'll pull the
trigger."

I didn't breathe.

I had an accident insurance on my life.  Would it hold good in a
case like this?  Or would Euphemia have to go back to her father?

He pushed me back into the little patch of moonlight.

"Oh! is it you?" he said, relaxing his grasp.  "What do you want?
A mustard plaster?"

He had a package of patent plasters in his room.  You took one and
dipped it in hot water, and it was all ready.

"No," said I, gasping a little.  "Burglars."

"Oh!" he said, and he put down his pistol and put on his clothes.

"Come along," he said, and away we went over the deck.

When we reached the stairs all was dark and quiet below.

It was a matter of hesitancy as to going down.

I started to go down first, but the boarder held me back.

"Let me go down," he said.

"No," said I, "my wife is there."

"That's the very reason you should not go," he said.  "She is safe
enough yet, and they would fire only at a man.  It would be a bad
job for her if you were killed.  I'll go down."

So he went down, slowly and cautiously, his pistol in one hand, and
his life in the other, as it were.

When he reached the bottom of the steps I changed my mind.  I could
not remain above while the burglar and Euphemia were below, so I
followed.

The boarder was standing in the middle of the dining-room, into
which the stairs led.  I could not see him, but I put my hand
against him as I was feeling my way across the floor.

I whispered to him:

"Shall we put our backs together and revolve and fire?"

"No," he whispered back, "not now; he may be on a shelf by this
time, or under a table.  Let's look him up."

I confess that I was not very anxious to look him up, but I
followed the boarder, as he slowly made his way toward the kitchen
door.  As we opened the door we instinctively stopped.

The window was open, and by the light of the moon that shone in, we
saw the rascal standing on a chair, leaning out of the window,
evidently just ready to escape.  Fortunately, we were unheard.

"Let's pull him in," whispered the boarder.

"No," I whispered in reply.  "We don't want him in.  Let's hoist
him out."

"All right," returned the boarder.

We laid our pistols on the floor, and softly approached the window.
Being barefooted, out steps were noiseless.

"Hoist when I count three," breathed the boarder into my ear.

We reached the chair.  Each of us took hold of two of its legs.

"One--two--three!" said the boarder, and together we gave a
tremendous lift and shot the wretch out of the window.

The tide was high, and there was a good deal of water around the
boat.  We heard a rousing splash outside.

Now there was no need of silence.

"Shall we run on deck and shoot him as he swims?" I cried.

"No," said the boarder, "we'll get the boat-hook, and jab him if he
tries to climb up."

We rushed on deck.  I seized the boat-hook and looked over the
side.  But I saw no one.

"He's gone to the bottom!" I exclaimed.

"He didn't go very far then," said the boarder, "for it's not more
than two feet deep there."

Just then our attention was attracted by a voice from the shore.

"Will you please let down the gang-plank?"  We looked ashore, and
there stood Pomona, dripping from every pore.

We spoke no words, but lowered the gangplank.

She came aboard.

"Good night!" said the boarder, and he went to bed.

"Pomona!" said I, "what have you been doing?"

"I was a lookin' at the moon, sir, when pop! the chair bounced, and
out I went."

"You shouldn't do that," I said, sternly.

"Some day you'll be drowned.  Take off your wet things and go to
bed."

"Yes, sma'am--sir, I mean," said she, as she went down-stairs.

When I reached my room I lighted the lamp, and found Euphemia still
under the bed.

"Is it all right?" she asked.

"Yes," I answered.  "There was no burglar.  Pomona fell out of the
window."

"Did you get her a plaster?" asked Euphemia, drowsily.

"No, she did not need one.  She's all right now.  Were you worried
about me, dear?"

"No, I trusted in you entirely, and I think I dozed a little under
the bed."

In one minute she was asleep.

The boarder and I did not make this matter a subject of
conversation afterward, but Euphemia gave the girl a lecture on her
careless ways, and made her take several Dover's powders the next
day.

An important fact in domestic economy was discovered about this
time by Euphemia and myself.  Perhaps we were not the first to
discover it, but we certainly did find it out,--and this fact was,
that housekeeping costs money.  At the end of every week we counted
up our expenditures--it was no trouble at all to count up our
receipts--and every week the result was more unsatisfactory.

"If we could only get rid of the disagreeable balance that has to
be taken along all the time, and which gets bigger and bigger like
a snow-ball, I think we would find the accounts more satisfactory,"
said Euphemia.

This was on a Saturday night.  We always got our pencils and paper
and money at the end of the week.

"Yes," said I, with an attempt to appear facetious and unconcerned,
"but it would be all well enough if we could take that snow-ball to
the fire and melt it down."

"But there never is any fire where there are snow-balls," said
Euphemia.

"No," said I, "and that's just the trouble."

It was on the following Thursday, when I came home in the evening,
that Euphemia met me with a glowing face.  It rather surprised me
to see her look so happy, for she had been very quiet and
preoccupied for the first part of the week.  So much so, indeed,
that I had thought of ordering smaller roasts for a week or two,
and taking her to a Thomas Concert with the money saved.  But this
evening she looked as if she did not need Thomas's orchestra.

"What makes you so bright, my dear?" said I, when I had greeted
her.  "Has anything jolly happened?"

"No," said she; "nothing yet, but I am going to make a fire to melt
snow-balls."

Of course I was very anxious to know how she was going to do it,
but she would not tell me.  It was a plan that she intended to keep
to herself until she saw how it worked.  I did not press her,
because she had so few secrets, and I did not hear anything about
this plan until it had been carried out.

Her scheme was as follows:  After thinking over our financial
condition and puzzling her brain to find out some way of bettering
it, she had come to the conclusion that she would make some money
by her own exertions, to help defray our household expenses.  She
never had made any money, but that was no reason why she should not
begin.  It was too bad that I should have to toil and toil and not
make nearly enough money after all.  So she would go to work and
earn something with her own hands.

She had heard of an establishment in the city, where ladies of
limited means, or transiently impecunious, could, in a very quiet
and private way, get sewing to do.  They could thus provide for
their needs without any one but the officers of the institution
knowing anything about it.

So Euphemia went to this place, and she got some work.  It was not
a very large bundle, but it was larger than she had been accustomed
to carry, and, what was perfectly dreadful, it was wrapped up in a
newspaper!  When Euphemia told me the story, she said that this was
too much for her courage.  She could not go on the cars, and
perhaps meet people belonging to our church, with a newspaper
bundle under her arm.

But her genius for expedients saved her from this humiliation.  She
had to purchase some sewing-cotton, and some other little things,
and when she had bought them, she handed her bundle to the woman
behind the counter, and asked her if she would not be so good as to
have that wrapped up with the other things.  It was a good deal to
ask, she knew, and the woman smiled, for the articles she had
bought would not make a package as large as her hand.  However, her
request was complied with, and she took away a very decent package,
with the card of the store stamped on the outside.  I suppose that
there are not more than half a dozen people in this country who
would refuse Euphemia anything that she would be willing to ask
for.

So she took the work home, and she labored faithfully at it for
about a week, She did not suppose it would take her so long; but
she was not used to such very plain sewing, and was much afraid
that she would not do it neatly enough.  Besides this, she could
only work on it in the daytime--when I was away--and was, of
course, interrupted a great deal by her ordinary household duties,
and the necessity of a careful oversight of Pomona's somewhat
erratic methods of doing her work.

But at last she finished the job and took it into the city.  She
did not want to spend any more money on the trip than was
absolutely necessary, and so was very glad to find that she had a
remnant of pocket-money sufficient to pay her fare both ways.

When she reached the city, she walked up to the place where her
work was to be delivered, and found it much farther when she went
on foot than it had seemed to her riding in the street cars.  She
handed over her bundle to the proper person, and, as it was soon
examined and approved, she received her pay therefor.

It amounted to sixty cents.  She had made no bargain, but she was a
little astonished.  However, she said nothing, but left the place
without asking for any more work.  In fact she forgot all about it.
She had an idea that everything was all wrong, and that idea
engrossed her mind entirely.  There was no mistake about the sum
paid, for the lady clerk had referred to the printed table of
prices when she calculated the amount due.  But something was
wrong, and, at the moment, Euphemia could not tell what it was.
She left the place, and started to walk back to the ferry.  But she
was so tired and weak, and hungry--it was now an hour or two past
her regular luncheon time--that she thought she should faint if she
did not go somewhere and get some refreshments.

So, like a sensible little woman as she was, she went into a
restaurant.  She sat down at a table, and a waiter came to her to
see what she would have.  She was not accustomed to eating-houses,
and perhaps this was the first time that she had ever visited one
alone.  What she wanted was something simple.  So she ordered a cup
of tea and some rolls, and a piece of chicken.  The meal was a very
good one, and Euphemia enjoyed it.  When she had finished, she went
up to the counter to settle.  Her bill was sixty cents.  She paid
the money that she had just received, and walked down to the ferry-
-all in a daze, she said.  When she got home she thought it over,
and then she cried.

After a while she dried her eyes, and when I came home she told me
all about it.

"I give it up," she said.  "I don't believe I can help you any."

Poor little thing!  I took her in my arms and comforted her, and
before bedtime I had convinced her that she was fully able to help
me better than any one else on earth, and that without puzzling her
brains about business, or wearing herself out by sewing for pay.

So we went on in our old way, and by keeping our attention on our
weekly balance, we prevented it from growing very rapidly.

We fell back on our philosophy (it was all the capital we had), and
became as calm and contented as circumstances allowed.



CHAPTER V.

POMONA PRODUCES A PARTIAL REVOLUTION IN RUDDER GRANGE.


Euphemia began to take a great deal of comfort in her girl.  Every
evening she had some new instance to relate of Pomona's inventive
abilities and aptness in adapting herself to the peculiarities of
our method of housekeeping.

"Only to think!" said she, one afternoon, "Pomona has just done
another VERY smart thing.  You know what a trouble it has always
been for us to carry all our waste water upstairs, and throw it
over the bulwarks.  Well, she has remedied all that.  She has cut a
nice little low window in the side of the kitchen, and has made a
shutter of the piece she cut out, with leather hinges to it, and
now she can just open this window, throw the water out, shut it
again, and there it is!  I tell you she's smart."

"Yes; there is no doubt of that," I said; "but I think that there
is danger of her taking more interest in such extraordinary and
novel duties than in the regular work of the house."

"Now, don't discourage the girl, my dear," she said, "for she is of
the greatest use to me, and I don't want you to be throwing cold
water about like some people."

"Not even if I throw it out of Pomona's little door, I suppose."

"No.  Don't throw it at all.  Encourage people.  What would the
world be if everybody chilled our aspirations and extraordinary
efforts?  Like Fulton's steamboat."

"All right," I said; "I'll not discourage her."

It was now getting late in the season.  It was quite too cool to
sit out on deck in the evening, and our garden began to look
desolate.

Our boarder had wheeled up a lot of fresh earth, and had prepared a
large bed, in which he had planted turnips.  They made an excellent
fall crop, he assured us.

From being simply cool it began to be rainy, and the weather grew
decidedly unpleasant.  But our boarder bade us take courage.  This
was probably the "equinoctial," and when it was over there would be
a delightful Indian summer, and the turnips would grow nicely.

This sounded very well, but the wind blew up cold at night, and
there was a great deal of unpleasant rain.

One night it blew what Pomona called a "whirlicane," and we went to
bed very early to keep warm.  We heard our boarder on deck in the
garden after we were in bed, and Euphemia said she could not
imagine what he was about, unless he was anchoring his turnips to
keep them from blowing away.

During the night I had a dream.  I thought I was a boy again, and
was trying to stand upon my head, a feat for which I had been
famous.  But instead of throwing myself forward on my hands, and
then raising my heels backward over my head, in the orthodox
manner, I was on my back, and trying to get on my head from that
position.  I awoke suddenly, and found that the footboard of the
bedstead was much higher than our heads.  We were lying on a very
much inclined plane, with our heads downward.  I roused Euphemia,
and we both got out of bed, when, at almost the same moment, we
slipped down the floor into ever so much water.

Euphemia was scarcely awake, and she fell down gurgling.  It was
dark, but I heard her fall, and I jumped over the bedstead to her
assistance.  I had scarcely raised her up, when I heard a pounding
at the front door or main-hatchway, and our boarder shouted:

"Get up!  Come out of that!  Open the door!  The old boat's turning
over!"

My heart fell within me, but I clutched Euphemia.  I said no word,
and she simply screamed.  I dragged her over the floor, sometimes
in the water and sometimes out of it.  I got the dining-room door
open and set her on the stairs.  They were in a topsy-turvy
condition, but they were dry.  I found a lantern which hung on a
nail, with a match-box under it, and I struck a light.  Then I
scrambled back and brought her some clothes.

All this time the boarder was yelling and pounding at the door.
When Euphemia was ready I opened the door and took her out.

"You go dress yourself;" said the boarder.  "I'll hold her here
until you come back."

I left her and found my clothes (which, chair and all, had tumbled
against the foot of the bed and so had not gone into the water),
and soon reappeared on deck.  The wind was blowing strongly, but it
did not now seem to be very cold.  The deck reminded me of the
gang-plank of a Harlem steamboat at low tide.  It was inclined at
an angle of more than forty-five degrees, I am sure.  There was
light enough for us to see about us, but the scene and all the
dreadful circumstances made me feel the most intense desire to wake
up and find it all a dream.  There was no doubt, however, about the
boarder being wide awake.

"Now then," said he, "take hold of her on that side and we'll help
her over here.  You scramble down on that side; it's all dry just
there.  The boat's turned over toward the water, and I'll lower her
down to you.  I'll let a rope over the sides.  You can hold on to
that as you go down."

I got over the bulwarks and let myself down to the ground.  Then
the boarder got Euphemia up and slipped her over the side, holding
to her hands, and letting her gently down until I could reach her.
She said never a word, but screamed at times.  I carried her a
little way up the shore and set her down.  I wanted to take her up
to a house near by, where we bought our milk, but she declined to
go until we had saved Pomona.

So I went back to the boat, having carefully wrapped up Euphemia,
to endeavor to save the girl.  I found that the boarder had so
arranged the gang-plank that it was possible, without a very great
exercise of agility, to pass from the shore to the boat.  When I
first saw him, on reaching the shelving deck, he was staggering up
the stairs with a dining-room chair and a large framed engraving of
Raphael's Dante--an ugly picture, but full of true feeling; at
least so Euphemia always declared, though I am not quite sure that
I know what she meant.

"Where is Pomona?" I said, endeavoring to stand on the hill-side of
the deck.

"I don't know," said he, "but we must get the things out.  The
tide's rising and the wind's getting up.  The boat will go over
before we know it."

"But we must find the girl," I said.  "She can't be left to drown."

"I don't think it would matter much," said he, getting over the
side of the boat with his awkward load.  "She would be of about as
much use drowned as any other way.  If it hadn't been for that hole
she cut in the side of the boat, this would never have happened."

"You don't think it was that!" I said, holding the picture and the
chair while he let himself down to the gang-plank.

"Yes, it was," he replied.  "The tide's very high, and the water
got over that hole and rushed in.  The water and the wind will
finish this old craft before very long."

And then he took his load from me and dashed down the gang-plank.
I went below to look for Pomona.  The lantern still hung on the
nail, and I took it down and went into the kitchen.  There was
Pomona, dressed, and with her hat on, quietly packing some things
in a basket.

"Come, hurry out of this," I cried.  "Don't you know that this
house--this boat, I mean, is a wreck?"

"Yes, sma'am--sir, I mean--I know it, and I suppose we shall soon
be at the mercy of the waves."

"Well, then, go as quickly as you can.  What are you putting in
that basket?"

"Food," she said.  "We may need it."

I took her by the shoulder and hurried her on deck, over the
bulwark, down the gang-plank, and so on to the place where I had
left Euphemia.

I found the dear girl there, quiet and collected, all up in a
little bunch, to shield herself from the wind.  I wasted no time,
but hurried the two women over to the house of our milk-merchant.
There, with some difficulty, I roused the good woman, and after
seeing Euphemia and Pomona safely in the house, I left them to tell
the tale, and ran back to the boat.

The boarder was working like a Trojan.  He had already a pile of
our furniture on the beach.

I set about helping him, and for an hour we labored at this hasty
and toilsome moving.  It was indeed a toilsome business.  The
floors were shelving, the stairs leaned over sideways, ever so far,
and the gang-plank was desperately short and steep.

Still, we saved quite a number of household articles.  Some things
we broke and some we forgot, and some things were too big to move
in this way; but we did very well, considering the circumstances.

The wind roared, the tide rose, and the boat groaned and creaked.
We were in the kitchen, trying to take the stove apart (the boarder
was sure we could carry it up, if we could get the pipe out and the
legs and doors off), when we heard a crash.  We rushed on deck and
found that the garden had fallen in!  Making our way as well as we
could toward the gaping rent in the deck, we saw that the turnip-
bed had gone down bodily into the boarder's room.  He did not
hesitate, but scrambled down his narrow stairs.  I followed him.
He struck a match that he had in his pocket, and lighted a little
lantern that hung under the stairs.  His room was a perfect rubbish
heap.  The floor, bed, chairs, pitcher, basin--everything was
covered or filled with garden mold and turnips.  Never did I behold
such a scene.  He stood in the midst of it, holding his lantern
high above his head.  At length he spoke.

"If we had time," he said, "we might come down here and pick out a
lot of turnips."

"But how about your furniture?" I exclaimed.

"Oh, that's ruined!" he replied.

So we did not attempt to save any of it, but we got hold of his
trunk and carried that on shore.

When we returned, we found that the water was pouring through his
partition, making the room a lake of mud.  And, as the water was
rising rapidly below, and the boat was keeling over more and more,
we thought it was time to leave, and we left.

It would not do to go far away from our possessions, which were
piled up in a sad-looking heap on the shore; and so, after I had
gone over to the milk-woman's to assure Euphemia of our safety, the
boarder and I passed the rest of the night--there was not much of
it left--in walking up and down the beach smoking some cigars which
he fortunately had in his pocket.

In the morning I took Euphemia to the hotel, about a mile away--and
arranged for the storage of our furniture there, until we could
find another habitation.  This habitation, we determined, was to be
in a substantial house, or part of a house, which should not be
affected by the tides.

During the morning the removal of our effects was successfully
accomplished, and our boarder went to town to look for a furnished
room.  He had nothing but his trunk to take to it.

In the afternoon I left Euphemia at the hotel, where she was taking
a nap (she certainly needed it, for she had spent the night in a
wooden rocking-chair at the milk-woman's), and I strolled down to
the river to take a last look at the remains of old Rudder Grange.

I felt sadly enough as I walked along the well-worn path to the
canal-boat, and thought how it had been worn by my feet more than
any other's, and how gladly I had walked that way, so often during
that delightful summer.  I forgot all that had been disagreeable,
and thought only of the happy times we had had.

It was a beautiful autumn afternoon, and the wind had entirely died
away.  When I came within sight of our old home, it presented a
doleful appearance.  The bow had drifted out into the river, and
was almost entirely under water.  The stern stuck up in a mournful
and ridiculous manner, with its keel, instead of its broadside,
presented to the view of persons on the shore.  As I neared the
boat I heard a voice.  I stopped and listened.  There was no one in
sight.  Could the sounds come from the boat?  I concluded that it
must be so, and I walked up closer.  Then I heard distinctly the
words:

"He grasp ed her by the thro at and yell ed, swear to me thou nev
er wilt re veal my se cret, or thy hot heart's blood shall stain
this mar bel fib or; she gave one gry vy ous gasp and--"

It was Pomona!

Doubtless she had climbed up the stern of the boat and had
descended into the depths of the wreck to rescue her beloved book,
the reading of which had so long been interrupted by my harsh
decrees.  Could I break in on this one hour of rapture?  I had not
the heart to do it, and as I slowly moved away, there came to me
the last words that I ever heard from Rudder Grange:

"And with one wild shry ik to heav en her heart's blo od spat ter
ed that prynce ly home of woe--"



CHAPTER VI.

THE NEW RUDDER GRANGE.


I have before given an account of the difficulties we encountered
when we started out house-hunting, and it was this doleful
experience which made Euphemia declare that before we set out on a
second search for a residence, we should know exactly what we
wanted.

To do this, we must know how other people live, we must examine
into the advantages and disadvantages of the various methods of
housekeeping, and make up our minds on the subject.

When we came to this conclusion we were in a city boarding-house,
and were entirely satisfied that this style of living did not suit
us at all.

At this juncture I received a letter from the gentleman who had
boarded with us on the canal-boat.  Shortly after leaving us the
previous fall, he had married a widow lady with two children, and
was now keeping house in a French flat in the upper part of the
city.  We had called upon the happy couple soon after their
marriage, and the letter, now received, contained an invitation for
us to come and dine, and spend the night.

"We'll go," said Euphemia.  "There's nothing I want so much as to
see how people keep house in a French flat.  Perhaps we'll like it.
And I must see those children."  So we went.

The house, as Euphemia remarked, was anything but flat.  It was
very tall indeed--the tallest house in the neighborhood.  We
entered the vestibule, the outer door being open, and beheld, on
one side of us, a row of bell-handles.  Above each of these handles
was the mouth of a speaking-tube, and above each of these, a little
glazed frame containing a visiting-card.

"Isn't this cute?" said Euphemia, reading over the cards.  "Here's
his name and this is his bell and tube!  Which would you do first,
ring or blow?"

"My dear," said I, "you don't blow up those tubes.  We must ring
the bell, just as if it were an ordinary front-door bell, and
instead of coming to the door, some one will call down the tube to
us."

I rang the bell under the boarder's name, and very soon a voice at
the tube said:

"Well?"

Then I told our names, and in an instant the front door opened.

"Why, their flat must be right here," whispered Euphemia.  "How
quickly the girl came!"

And she looked for the girl as we entered.  But there was no one
there.

"Their flat is on the fifth story," said I.  "He mentioned that in
his letter.  We had better shut the door and go up."

Up and up the softly carpeted stairs we climbed, and not a soul we
saw or heard.

"It is like an enchanted cavern," said Euphemia.  "You say the
magic word, the door in the rock opens and you go on, and on,
through the vaulted passages--"

"Until you come to the ogre," said the boarder, who was standing at
the top of the stairs.  He did not behave at all like an ogre, for
he was very glad to see us, and so was his wife.  After we had
settled down in the parlor and the boarder's wife had gone to see
about something concerning the dinner, Euphemia asked after the
children.

"I hope they haven't gone to bed," she said, "for I do so want to
see the dear little things."

The ex-boarder, as Euphemia called him, smiled grimly.

"They're not so very little," he said.  "My wife's son is nearly
grown.  He is at an academy in Connecticut, and he expects to go
into a civil engineer's office in the spring.  His sister is older
than he is.  My wife married--in the first instance--when she was
very young--very young in deed."

"Oh!" said Euphemia; and then, after a pause, "And neither of them
is at home now?"

"No," said the ex-boarder.  "By the way, what do you think of this
dado?  It is a portable one; I devised it myself.  You can take it
away with you to another house when you move.  But there is the
dinner-bell.  I'll show you over the establishment after we have
had something to eat."

After our meal we made a tour of inspection.  The flat, which
included the whole floor, contained nine or ten rooms, of all
shapes and sizes.  The corners in some of the rooms were cut off
and shaped up into closets and recesses, so that Euphemia said the
corners of every room were in some other room.

Near the back of the flat was a dumb-waiter, with bells and
speaking-tubes.  When the butcher, the baker, or the kerosene-lamp
maker, came each morning, he rang the bell, and called up the tube
to know what was wanted.  The order was called down, and he brought
the things in the afternoon.

All this greatly charmed Euphemia.  It was so cute, so complete.
There were no interviews with disagreeable trades-people, none of
the ordinary annoyances of housekeeping.  Everything seemed to be
done with a bell, a speaking-tube or a crank.

"Indeed," said the ex-boarder, "if it were not for people tripping
over the wires, I could rig up attachments by which I could sit in
the parlor, and by using pedals and a key-board, I could do all the
work of this house without getting out of my easy-chair."

One of the most peculiar features of the establishment was the
servant's room.  This was at the rear end of the floor, and as
there was not much space left after the other rooms had been made,
it was very small; so small, indeed, that it would accommodate only
a very short bedstead.  This made it necessary for our friends to
consider the size of the servant when they engaged her.

"There were several excellent girls at the intelligence office
where I called," said the ex-boarder, "but I measured them, and
they were all too tall.  So we had to take a short one, who is only
so so.  There was one big Scotch girl who was the very person for
us, and I would have taken her if my wife had not objected to my
plan for her accommodation.

"What was that?" I asked.

"Well," said he, "I first thought of cutting a hole in the
partition wall at the foot of the bed, for her to put her feet
through."

"Never!" said his wife, emphatically.  "I would never have allowed
that."

"And then," continued he, "I thought of turning the bed around, and
cutting a larger hole, through which she might have put her head
into the little room on this side.  A low table could have stood
under the hole, and her head might have rested on a cushion on the
table very comfortably."

"My dear," said his wife, "it would have frightened me to death to
go into that room and see that head on a cushion on a table--"

"Like John the Baptist," interrupted Euphemia.

"Well," said our ex-boarder, "the plan would have had its
advantages."

"Oh!" cried Euphemia, looking out of a back window.  "What a lovely
little iron balcony!  Do you sit out there on warm evenings?"

"That's a fire-escape," said the ex-boarder.  "We don't go out
there unless it is very hot indeed, on account of the house being
on fire.  You see there is a little door in the floor of the
balcony and an iron ladder leading to the balcony beneath, and so
on, down to the first story."

"And you have to creep through that hole and go down that dreadful
steep ladder every time there is a fire?" said Euphemia.

"Well, I guess we would never go down but once," he answered.

"No, indeed," said Euphemia; "you'd fall down and break your neck
the first time," and she turned away from the window with a very
grave expression on her face.

Soon after this our hostess conducted Euphemia to the guest-
chamber, while her husband and I finished a bed-time cigar.

When I joined Euphemia in her room, she met me with a mysterious
expression on her face.  She shut the door, and then said in a very
earnest tone:

"Do you see that little bedstead in the corner?  I did not notice
it until I came in just now, and then, being quite astonished, I
said, 'Why here's a child's bed; who sleeps here?'  'Oh,' says she,
'that's our little Adele's bedstead.  We have it in our room when
she's here.'  'Little Adele!' said I, 'I didn't know she was
little--not small enough for that bed, at any rate.'  'Why, yes,'
said she, 'Adele is only four years old.  The bedstead is quite
large enough for her.'  'And she is not here now?' I said, utterly
amazed at all this.  'No,' she answered, 'she is not here now, but
we try to have her with us as much as we can, and always keep her
little bed ready for her.'  'I suppose she's with her father's
people,' I said, and she answered, 'Oh yes,' and bade me good-
night.  What does all this mean?  Our boarder told us that the
daughter is grown up, and here his wife declares that she is only
four years old!  I don't know what in the world to make of this
mystery!"

I could give Euphemia no clue.  I supposed there was some mistake,
and that was all I could say, except that I was sleepy, and that we
could find out all about it in the morning.  But Euphemia could not
dismiss the subject from her mind.  She said no more,--but I could
see--until I fell asleep--that she was thinking about it.

It must have been about the middle of the night, perhaps later,
when I was suddenly awakened by Euphemia starting up in the bed,
with the exclamation:

"I have it!"

"What?" I cried, sitting up in a great hurry.  "What is it?  What
have you got?  What's the matter?"

"I know it!" she said, "I know it.  Our boarder is a GRANDFATHER!
Little Adele is the grown-up daughter's child.  He was quite
particular to say that his wife married VERY young.  Just to think
of it!  So short a time ago, he was living with us--a bachelor--and
now, in four short months, he is a grandfather!"

Carefully propounded inquiries, in the morning, proved Euphemia's
conclusions to be correct.

The next evening, when we were quietly sitting in our own room,
Euphemia remarked that she did not wish to have anything to do with
French flats.

"They seem to be very convenient," I said.

"Oh yes, convenient enough, but I don't like them.  I would hate to
live where everything let down like a table-lid, or else turned
with a crank.  And when I think of those fire-escapes, and the
boarder's grandchild, it makes me feel very unpleasantly."

"But the grandchild don't follow as a matter of course," said I.

"No," she answered, "but I shall never like French flats."

And we discussed them no more.

For some weeks we examined into every style of economic and
respectable housekeeping, and many methods of living in what
Euphemia called "imitation comfort" were set aside as unworthy of
consideration.

"My dear," said Euphemia, one evening, "what we really ought to do
is to build.  Then we would have exactly the house we want."

"Very true," I replied; "but to build a house, a man must have
money."

"Oh no!" said she, "or at least not much.  For one thing, you might
join a building association.  In some of those societies I know
that you only have to pay a dollar a week."

"But do you suppose the association builds houses for all its
members?" I asked.

"Of course I suppose so.  Else why is it called a building
association?"

I had read a good deal about these organizations, and I explained
to Euphemia that a dollar a week was never received by any of them
in payment for a new house.

"Then build yourself," she said; "I know how that can be done."

"Oh, it's easy enough," I remarked, "if you have the money."

"No, you needn't have any money," said Euphemia, rather hastily.
"Just let me show you.  Supposing, for instance, that you want to
build a house worth--well, say twenty thousand dollars, in some
pretty town near the city."

"I would rather figure on a cheaper house than that for a country
place," I interrupted.

"Well then, say two thousand dollars.  You get masons, and
carpenters, and people to dig the cellar, and you engage them to
build your house.  You needn't pay them until it's done, of course.
Then when it's all finished, borrow two thousand dollars and give
the house as security.  After that you see, you have only to pay
the interest on the borrowed money.  When you save enough money to
pay back the loan, the house is your own.  Now, isn't that a good
plan?"

"Yes," said I, "if there could be found people who would build your
house and wait for their money until some one would lend you its
full value on a mortgage."

"Well," said Euphemia, "I guess they could be found if you would
only look for them."

"I'll look for them, when I go to heaven," I said.

We gave up for the present, the idea of building or buying a house,
and determined to rent a small place in the country, and then, as
Euphemia wisely said, if we liked it, we might buy it.  After she
had dropped her building projects she thought that one ought to
know just how a house would suit before having it on one's hands.

We could afford something better than a canal-boat now, and
therefore we were not so restricted as in our first search for a
house.  But, the one thing which troubled my wife--and, indeed,
caused me much anxious thought, was that scourge of almost all
rural localities--tramps.  It would be necessary for me to be away
all day,--and we could not afford to keep a man,--so we must be
careful to get a house somewhere off the line of ordinary travel,
or else in a well-settled neighborhood, where there would be some
one near at hand in case of unruly visitors.

"A village I don't like," said Euphemia: "there is always so much
gossip, and people know all about what you have, and what you do.
And yet it would be very lonely, and perhaps dangerous, for us to
live off somewhere, all by ourselves.  And there is another
objection to a village.  We don't want a house with a small yard
and a garden at the back.  We ought to have a dear little farm,
with some fields for corn, and a cow, and a barn and things of that
sort.  All that would be lovely.  I'll tell you what we want," she
cried, seized with a sudden inspiration; "we ought to try to get
the end-house of a village.  Then our house could be near the
neighbors, and our farm could stretch out a little way into the
country beyond us.  Let us fix our minds upon such a house and I
believe we can get it."

So we fixed our minds, but in the course of a week or two we
unfixed them several times to allow the consideration of places,
which otherwise would have been out of range; and during one of
these intervals of mental disfixment we took a house.

It was not the end-house of a village, but it was in the outskirts
of a very small rural settlement.  Our nearest neighbor was within
vigorous shouting distance, and the house suited us so well in
other respects, that we concluded that this would do.  The house
was small, but large enough.  There were some trees around it, and
a little lawn in front.  There was a garden, a small barn and
stable, a pasture field, and land enough besides for small patches
of corn and potatoes.  The rent was low, the water good, and no one
can imagine how delighted we were.

We did not furnish the whole house at first, but what mattered it?
We had no horse or cow, but the pasture and barn were ready for
them.  We did not propose to begin with everything at once.

Our first evening in that house was made up of hours of unalloyed
bliss.  We walked from room to room; we looked out on the garden
and the lawn; we sat on the little porch while I smoked.

"We were happy at Rudder Grange," said Euphemia; "but that was only
a canal-boat, and could not, in the nature of things, have been a
permanent home."

"No," said I, "it could not have been permanent.  But, in many
respects, it was a delightful home.  The very name of it brings
pleasant thoughts."

"It was a nice name," said Euphemia, "and I'll tell you what we
might do:  Let us call this place Rudder Grange--the New Rudder
Grange!  The name will do just as well for a house as for a boat."

I agreed on the spot, and the house was christened.

Our household was small; we had a servant--a German woman; and we
had ourselves, that was all.

I did not do much in the garden; it was too late in the season.
The former occupant had planted some corn and potatoes, with a few
other vegetables, and these I weeded and hoed, working early in the
morning and when I came home in the afternoon.  Euphemia tied up
the rose-vines, trimmed the bushes, and with a little rake and hoe
she prepared a flower-bed in front of the parlor-window.  This
exercise gave us splendid appetites, and we loved our new home more
and more.

Our German girl did not suit us exactly at first, and day by day
she grew to suit us less.  She was a quiet, kindly, pleasant
creature, and delighted in an out-of-door life.  She was as willing
to weed in the garden as she was to cook or wash.  At first I was
very much pleased with this, because, as I remarked to Euphemia,
you can find very few girls who would be willing to work in the
garden, and she might be made very useful.

But, after a time, Euphemia began to get a little out of patience
with her.  She worked out-of-doors entirely too much.  And what she
did there, as well as some of her work in the house, was very much
like certain German literature--you did not know how it was done,
or what it was for.

One afternoon I found Euphemia quite annoyed.

"Look here," she said, "and see what that girl has been at work at,
nearly all this afternoon.  I was upstairs sewing and thought she
was ironing.  Isn't it too provoking?"

It WAS provoking.  The contemplative German had collected a lot of
short ham-bones--where she found them I cannot imagine--and had
made of them a border around my wife's flower-bed.  The bones stuck
up straight a few inches above the ground, all along the edge of
the bed, and the marrow cavity of each one was filled with earth in
which she had planted seeds.

"'These,' she says, 'will spring up and look beautiful,'" said
Euphemia; "they have that style of thing in her country."

"Then let her take them off with her to her country," I exclaimed.

"No, no," said Euphemia, hurriedly, "don't kick them out.  It would
only wound her feelings.  She did it all for the best, and thought
it would please me to have such a border around my bed.  But she is
too independent, and neglects her proper work.  I will give her a
week's notice and get another servant.  When she goes we can take
these horrid bones away.  But I hope nobody will call on us in the
meantime."

"Must we keep these things here a whole week?" I asked.

"Oh, I can't turn her away without giving her a fair notice.  That
would be cruel."

I saw the truth of the remark, and determined to bear with the
bones and her rather than be unkind.

That night Euphemia informed the girl of her decision, and the next
morning, soon after I had left, the good German appeared with her
bonnet on and her carpet-bag in her hand, to take leave of her
mistress.

"What!" cried Euphemia.  "You are not going to-day?"

"If it is goot to go at all it is goot to go now," said the girl.

"And you will go off and leave me without any one in the house,
after my putting myself out to give you a fair notice?  It's
shameful!"

"I think it is very goot for me to go now," quietly replied the
girl.  "This house is very loneful.  I will go to-morrow in the
city to see your husband for my money.  Goot morning."  And off she
trudged to the station.

Before I reached the house that afternoon, Euphemia rushed out to
tell this story.  I would not like to say how far I kicked those
ham-bones.

This German girl had several successors, and some of them suited as
badly and left as abruptly as herself; but Euphemia never forgot
the ungrateful stab given her by this "ham-bone girl," as she
always called her.  It was her first wound of the kind, and it came
in the very beginning of the campaign when she was all unused to
this domestic warfare.



CHAPTER VII.

TREATING OF AN UNSUCCESSFUL BROKER AND A DOG.


It was a couple of weeks, or thereabouts, after this episode that
Euphemia came down to the gate to meet me on my return from the
city.  I noticed a very peculiar expression on her face.  She
looked both thoughtful and pleased.  Almost the first words she
said to me were these:

"A tramp came here to-day."

"I am sorry to hear that," I exclaimed.  "That's the worst news I
have had yet.  I did hope that we were far enough from the line of
travel to escape these scourges.  How did you get rid of him?  Was
he impertinent?"

"You must not feel that way about all tramps," said she.
"Sometimes they are deserving of our charity, and ought to be
helped.  There is a great difference in them."

"That may be," I said; "but what of this one?  When was he here,
and when did he go?"

"He did not go at all.  He is here now."

"Here now!" I cried.  "Where is he?"

"Do not call out so loud," said Euphemia, putting her hand on my
arm.  "You will waken him.  He is asleep."

"Asleep!" said I.  "A tramp?  Here?"

"Yes.  Stop, let me tell you about him.  He told me his story, and
it is a sad one.  He is a middle-aged man--fifty perhaps--and has
been rich.  He was once a broker in Wall street, but lost money by
the failure of various railroads--the Camden and Amboy, for one."

"That hasn't failed," I interrupted.

"Well then it was the Northern Pacific, or some other one of them--
at any rate I know it was either a railroad or a bank,--and he soon
became very poor.  He has a son in Cincinnati, who is a successful
merchant, and lives in a fine house, with horses and carriages, and
all that; and this poor man has written to his son, but has never
had any answer.  So now he is going to walk to Cincinnati to see
him.  He knows he will not be turned away if he can once meet his
son, face to face.  He was very tired when he stopped here,--and he
has ever and ever so far to walk yet, you know,--and so after I had
given him something to eat, I let him lie down in the outer
kitchen, on that roll of rag-carpet that is there.  I spread it out
for him.  It is a hard bed for one who has known comfort, but he
seems to sleep soundly."

"Let me see him," said I, and I walked back to the outer kitchen.

There lay the unsuccessful broker fast asleep.  His face, which was
turned toward me as I entered, showed that it had been many days
since he had been shaved, and his hair had apparently been uncombed
for about the same length of time.  His clothes were very old, and
a good deal torn, and he wore one boot and one shoe.

"Whew!" said I.  "Have you been giving him whisky?"

"No," whispered Euphemia, "of course not.  I noticed that smell,
and he said he had been cleaning his clothes with alcohol."

"They needed it, I'm sure," I remarked as I turned away.  "And
now," said I, "where's the girl?"

"This is her afternoon out.  What is the matter?  You look
frightened."

"Oh, I'm not frightened, but I find I must go down to the station
again.  Just run up and put on your bonnet.  It will be a nice
little walk for you."

I had been rapidly revolving the matter in my mind.  What was I to
do with this wretch who was now asleep in my outer kitchen?  If I
woke him up and drove him off,--and I might have difficulty in
doing it,--there was every reason to believe that he would not go
far, but return at night and commit some revengeful act.  I never
saw a more sinister-looking fellow.  And he was certainly drunk.
He must not be allowed to wander about our neighborhood.  I would
go for the constable and have him arrested.

So I locked the door from the kitchen into the house and then the
outside door of the kitchen, and when my wife came down we hurried
off.  On the way I told her what I intended to do, and what I
thought of our guest.  She answered scarcely a word, and I hoped
that she was frightened.  I think she was.

The constable, who was also coroner of our township, had gone to a
creek, three miles away, to hold an inquest, and there was nobody
to arrest the man.  The nearest police-station was at Hackingford,
six miles away, on the railroad.  I held a consultation with the
station-master, and the gentleman who kept the grocery-store
opposite.

They could think of nothing to be done except to shoot the man, and
to that I objected.

"However," said I, "he can't stay there;" and a happy thought just
then striking me, I called to the boy who drove the village
express-wagon, and engaged him for a job.  The wagon was standing
at the station, and to save time, I got in and rode to my house.
Euphemia went over to call on the groceryman's wife until I
returned.

I had determined that the man should be taken away, although, until
I was riding home, I had not made up my mind where to have him
taken.  But on the road I settled this matter.

On reaching the house, we drove into the yard as close to the
kitchen as we could go.  Then I unlocked the door, and the boy--who
was a big, strapping fellow--entered with me.  We found the ex-
broker still wrapped in the soundest slumber.  Leaving the boy to
watch him, I went upstairs and got a baggage-tag which I directed
to the chief of police at the police station in Hackingford.  I
returned to the kitchen and fastened this tag, conspicuously, on
the lappel of the sleeper's coat.  Then, with a clothes-line, I
tied him up carefully, hand and foot.  To all this he offered not
the slightest opposition.  When he was suitably packed, with due
regard to the probable tenderness of wrist and ankle in one brought
up in luxury, the boy and I carried him to the wagon.

He was a heavy load, and we may have bumped him a little, but his
sleep was not disturbed.  Then we drove him to the express office.
This was at the railroad station, and the station-master was also
express agent.  At first he was not inclined to receive my parcel,
but when I assured him that all sorts of live things were sent by
express, and that I could see no reason for making an exception in
this case, he added my arguments to his own disposition, as a
house-holder, to see the goods forwarded to their destination, and
so gave me a receipt, and pasted a label on the ex-broker's
shoulder.  I set no value on the package, which I prepaid.

"Now then," said the station-master, "he'll go all right, if the
express agent on the train will take him."

This matter was soon settled, for, in a few minutes, the train
stopped at the station.  My package was wheeled to the express car,
and two porters, who entered heartily into the spirit of the thing,
hoisted it into the car.  The train-agent, who just then noticed
the character of the goods, began to declare that he would not have
the fellow in his car; but my friend the station-master shouted out
that everything was all right,--the man was properly packed,
invoiced and paid for, and the train, which was behind time, moved
away before the irate agent could take measures to get rid of his
unwelcome freight.

"Now," said I, "there'll be a drunken man at the police-station in
Hackingford in about half-an-hour.  His offense will be as evident
there as here, and they can do what they please with him.  I shall
telegraph, to explain the matter and prepare them for his arrival."

When I had done this Euphemia and I went home.  The tramp had cost
me some money, but I was well satisfied with my evening's work, and
felt that the township owed me, at least, a vote of thanks.

But I firmly made up my mind that Euphemia should never again be
left unprotected.  I would not even trust to a servant who would
agree to have no afternoons out.  I would get a dog.

The next day I advertised for a fierce watchdog, and in the course
of a week I got one.  Before I procured him I examined into the
merits, and price, of about one hundred dogs.  My dog was named
Pete, but I determined to make a change in that respect.  He was a
very tall, bony, powerful beast, of a dull black color, and with a
lower jaw that would crack the hind-leg of an ox, so I was
informed.  He was of a varied breed, and the good Irishman of whom
I bought him said he had fine blood in him, and attempted to refer
him back to the different classes of dogs from which he had been
derived.  But after I had had him awhile, I made an analysis based
on his appearance and character, and concluded that he was mainly
blood-hound, shaded with wolf-dog and mastiff, and picked out with
touches of bull-dog.

The man brought him home for me, and chained him up in an unused
wood-shed, for I had no doghouse as yet.

"Now thin," said he, "all you've got to do is to keep 'im chained
up there for three or four days till he gets used to ye.  An' I'll
tell ye the best way to make a dog like ye.  Jist give him a good
lickin'.  Then he'll know yer his master, and he'll like ye iver
aftherward.  There's plenty of people that don't know that.  And,
by the way, sir, that chain's none too strong for 'im.  I got it
when he wasn't mor'n half grown.  Ye'd bether git him a new one."

When the man had gone, I stood and looked at the dog, and could not
help hoping that he would learn to like me without the intervention
of a thrashing.  Such harsh methods were not always necessary, I
felt sure.

After our evening meal--a combination of dinner and supper, of
which Euphemia used to say that she did not know whether to call it
dinper or supner--we went out together to look at our new guardian.

Euphemia was charmed with him.

"How massive!" she exclaimed.  "What splendid limbs!  And look at
that immense head!  I know I shall never be afraid now.  I feel
that that is a dog I can rely upon.  Make him stand up, please, so
I can see how tall he is."

"I think it would be better not to disturb him," I answered, "he
may be tired.  He will get up of his own accord very soon.  And
indeed I hope that he will not get up until I go to the store and
get him a new chain."

As I said this I made a step forward to look at his chain, and at
that instant a low growl, like the first rumblings of an
earthquake, ran through the dog.

I stepped back again and walked over to the village for the chain.
The dog-chains shown me at the store all seemed too short and too
weak, and I concluded to buy two chains such as used for hitching
horses and to join them so as to make a long as well as a strong
one of them.  I wanted him to be able to come out of the wood-shed
when it should be necessary to show himself.

On my way home with my purchase the thought suddenly struck me, How
will you put that chain on your dog?  The memory of the rumbling
growl was still vivid.

I never put the chain on him.  As I approached him with it in my
hand, he rose to his feet, his eyes sparkled, his black lips drew
back from his mighty teeth, he gave one savage bark and sprang at
me.

His chain held and I went into the house.  That night he broke
loose and went home to his master, who lived fully ten miles away.

When I found in the morning that he was gone I was in doubt whether
it would be better to go and look for him or not.  But I concluded
to keep up a brave heart, and found him, as I expected, at the
place where I had bought him.  The Irishman took him to my house
again and I had to pay for the man's loss of time as well as for
his fare on the railroad.  But the dog's old master chained him up
with the new chain and I felt repaid for my outlay.

Every morning and night I fed that dog, and I spoke as kindly and
gently to him as I knew how.  But he seemed to cherish a distaste
for me, and always greeted me with a growl.  He was an awful dog.

About a week after the arrival of this animal, I was astonished and
frightened on nearing the house to hear a scream from my wife.  I
rushed into the yard and was greeted with a succession of screams
from two voices, that seemed to come from the vicinity of the wood-
shed.  Hurrying thither, I perceived Euphemia standing on the roof
of the shed in perilous proximity to the edge, while near the ridge
of the roof sat our hired girl with her handkerchief over her head.

"Hurry, hurry!" cried Euphemia.  "Climb up here!  The dog is loose!
Be quick!  Be quick!  Oh! he's coming, he's coming!"

I asked for no explanation.  There was a rail-fence by the side of
the shed and I sprang on this, and was on the roof just as the dog
came bounding and barking from the barn.

Instantly Euphemia had me in her arms, and we came very near going
off the roof together.

"I never feared to have you come home before," she sobbed.  "I
thought he would tear you limb from limb."

"But how did all this happen?" said I.

"Och! I kin hardly remember," said the girl from under her
handkerchief.

"Well, I didn't ask you," I said, somewhat too sharply.

"Oh, I'll tell you," said Euphemia.  "There was a man at the gate
and he looked suspicious and didn't try to come in, and Mary was at
the barn looking for an egg, and I thought this was a good time to
see whether the dog was a good watch-dog or not, so I went and
unchained him--"

"Did you unchain that dog?" I cried.

"Yes, and the minute he was loose he made a rush at the gate, but
the man was gone before he got there, and as he ran down the road I
saw that he was Mr. Henderson's man, who was coming here on an
errand, I expect, and then I went down to the barn to get Mary to
come and help me chain up the dog, and when she came out he began
to chase me and then her; and we were so frightened that we climbed
up here, and I don't know, I'm sure, how I ever got up that fence;
and do you think he can climb up here?"

"Oh no! my dear," I said.

"An' he's just the beast to go afther a stip-ladder," said the
girl, in muffled tones.

"And what are we to do?" asked Euphemia.  "We can't eat and sleep
up here.  Don't you think that if we were all to shout out
together, we could make some neighbor hear?"

"Oh yes!" I said, "there is no doubt of it.  But then, if a
neighbor came, the dog would fall on him--"

"And tear him limb from limb," interrupted Euphemia.

"Yes, and besides, my dear, I should hate to have any of the
neighbors come and find us all up here.  It would look so utterly
absurd.  Let me try and think of some other plan."

"Well, please be as quick as you can.  It's dreadful to be--who's
that?"

I looked up and saw a female figure just entering the yard.

"Oh, what shall we do" exclaimed Euphemia.  "The dog will get her.
Call to her!"

"No, no," said I, "don't make a noise.  It will only bring the dog.
He seems to have gone to the barn, or somewhere.  Keep perfectly
quiet, and she may go up on the porch, and as the front door is not
locked, she may rush into the house, if she sees him coming."

"I do hope she will do that," said Euphemia, anxiously.

"And yet," said I, "it's not pleasant to have strangers going into
the house when there's no one there."

"But it's better than seeing a stranger torn to pieces before your
eyes," said Euphemia.

"Yes," I replied, "it is.  Don't you think we might get down now?
The dog isn't here."

"No, no!" cried Euphemia.  "There he is now, coming this way.  And
look at that woman!  She is coming right to this shed."

Sure enough, our visitor had passed by the front door, and was
walking toward us.  Evidently she had heard our voices.

"Don't come here!" cried Euphemia.  "You'll be killed!  Run! run!
The dog is coming!  Why, mercy on us!  It's Pomona!"



CHAPTER VIII.

POMONA ONCE MORE.


Sure enough, it was Pomona.  There stood our old servant-girl, of
the canal-boat, with a crooked straw bonnet on her head, a faded
yellow parasol in her hand, a parcel done up in newspaper under her
arm, and an expression of astonishment on her face.

"Well, truly!" she ejaculated.

"Into the house, quick!" I said.  "We have a savage dog!"

"And here he is!" cried Euphemia.  "Oh! she will be torn to atoms."

Straight at Pomona came the great black beast, barking furiously.
But the girl did not move; she did not even turn her head to look
at the dog, who stopped before he reached her and began to rush
wildly around her, barking terribly.

We held our breath.  I tried to say "get out!" or "lie down!" but
my tongue could not form the words.

"Can't you get up here?" gasped Euphemia.

"I don't want to," said the girl.

The dog now stopped barking, and stood looking at Pomona,
occasionally glancing up at us.  Pomona took not the slightest
notice of him.

"Do you know, ma'am," said she to Euphemia, "that if I had come
here yesterday, that dog would have had my life's blood."

"And why don't he have it to-day?" said Euphemia, who, with myself,
was utterly amazed at the behavior of the dog.

"Because I know more to-day than I did yesterday," answered Pomona.
"It is only this afternoon that I read something, as I was coming
here on the cars.  This is it," she continued, unwrapping her paper
parcel, and taking from it one of the two books it contained.  "I
finished this part just as the cars stopped, and I put my scissors
in the place; I'll read it to you."

Standing there with one book still under her arm, the newspaper
half unwrapped from it, hanging down and flapping in the breeze,
she opened the other volume at the scissors-place, turned back a
page or two, and began to read as follows:


"Lord Edward slowly san-ter-ed up the bro-ad anc-es-tral walk, when
sudden-ly from out a cop-se, there sprang a fur-i-ous hound.  The
marsh-man, con-ce-al-ed in a tree expected to see the life's blood
of the young nob-le-man stain the path.  But no, Lord Edward did
not stop nor turn his head.  With a smile, he strode stead-i-ly on.
Well he knew that if by be-traying no em-otion, he could show the
dog that he was walking where he had a right, the bru-te would re-
cog-nize that right and let him pass un-sca-thed.  Thus in this
moment of peril his nob-le courage saved him.  The hound, abashed,
returned to his cov-ert, and Lord Edward pass-ed on.

"Foi-led again," mutter-ed the marsh-man.


"Now, then," said Pomona, closing the book, "you see I remembered
that, the minute I saw the dog coming, and I didn't betray any
emotion.  Yesterday, now, when I didn't know it, I'd 'a been sure
to betray emotion, and he would have had my life's blood.  Did he
drive you up there?"

"Yes," said Euphemia; and she hastily explained the situation.

"Then I guess I'd better chain him up," remarked Pomona; and
advancing to the dog she took him boldly by the collar and pulled
him toward the shed.  The animal hung back at first, but soon
followed her, and she chained him up securely.

"Now you can come down," said Pomona.

I assisted Euphemia to the ground, and Pomona persuaded the hired
girl to descend.

"Will he grab me by the leg?" asked the girl.

"No; get down, gump," said Pomona, and down she scrambled.

We took Pomona into the house with us and asked her news of
herself.

"Well," said she, "there ain't much to tell.  I staid awhile at the
institution, but I didn't get much good there, only I learned to
read to myself, because if I read out loud they came and took the
book away.  Then I left there and went to live out, but the woman
was awful mean.  She throwed away one of my books and I was only
half through it.  It was a real good book, named 'The Bridal
Corpse, or Montregor's Curse,' and I had to pay for it at the
circulatin' library.  So I left her quick enough, and then I went
on the stage."

"On the stage!" cried Euphemia.  "What did you do on the stage?"

"Scrub," replied Pomona.  "You see that I thought if I could get
anything to do at the theayter, I could work my way up, so I was
glad to get scrubbin'.  I asked the prompter, one morning, if he
thought there was a chance for me to work up, and he said yes, I
might scrub the galleries, and then I told him that I didn't want
none of his lip, and I pretty soon left that place.  I heard you
was akeepin' house out here, and so I thought I'd come along and
see you, and if you hadn't no girl I'd like to live with you again,
and I guess you might as well take me, for that other girl said,
when she got down from the shed, that she was goin' away to-morrow;
she wouldn't stay in no house where they kept such a dog, though I
told her I guessed he was only cuttin' 'round because he was so
glad to get loose."

"Cutting around!" exclaimed Euphemia.  "It was nothing of the kind.
If you had seen him you would have known better.  But did you come
now to stay?  Where are your things?"

"On me," replied Pomona.

When Euphemia found that the Irish girl really intended to leave,
we consulted together and concluded to engage Pomona, and I went so
far as to agree to carry her books to and from the circulating
library to which she subscribed, hoping thereby to be able to
exercise some influence on her taste.  And thus part of the old
family of Rudder Grange had come together again.  True, the boarder
was away, but, as Pomona remarked, when she heard about him, "You
couldn't always expect to ever regain the ties that had always
bound everybody."

Our delight and interest in our little farm increased day by day.
In a week or two after Pomona's arrival I bought a cow.  Euphemia
was very anxious to have an Alderney,--they were such gentle,
beautiful creatures,--but I could not afford such a luxury.  I
might possibly compass an Alderney calf, but we would have to wait
a couple of years for our milk, and Euphemia said it would be
better to have a common cow than to do that.

Great was our inward satisfaction when the cow, our OWN cow, walked
slowly and solemnly into our yard and began to crop the clover on
our little lawn.  Pomona and I gently drove her to the barn, while
Euphemia endeavored to quiet the violent demonstrations of the dog
(fortunately chained) by assuring him that this was OUR cow and
that she was to live here, and that he was to take care of her and
never bark at her.  All this and much more, delivered in the
earnest and confidential tone in which ladies talk to infants and
dumb animals, made the dog think that he was to be let loose to
kill the cow, and he bounded and leaped with delight, tugging at
his chain so violently that Euphemia became a little frightened and
left him.  This dog had been named Lord Edward, at the earnest
solicitation of Pomona, and he was becoming somewhat reconciled to
his life with us.  He allowed me to unchain him at night and I
could generally chain him up in the morning without trouble if I
had a good big plate of food with which to tempt him into the shed.

Before supper we all went down to the barn to see the milking.
Pomona, who knew all about such things, having been on a farm in
her first youth, was to be the milkmaid.  But when she began
operations, she did no more than begin.  Milk as industriously as
she might, she got no milk.

"This is a queer cow," said Pomona.

"Are you sure that you know how to milk?" asked Euphemia anxiously.

"Can I milk?" said Pomona.  "Why, of course, ma'am.  I've seen 'em
milk hundreds of times."

"But you never milked, yourself?" I remarked.

"No, sir, but I know just how it's done."

That might be, but she couldn't do it, and at last we had to give
up the matter in despair, and leave the poor cow until morning,
when Pomona was to go for a man who occasionally worked on the
place, and engage him to come and milk for us.

That night as we were going to bed I looked out of the window at
the barn which contained the cow, and was astonished to see that
there was a light inside of the building.

"What!" I exclaimed.  "Can't we be left in peaceful possession of a
cow for a single night?"  And, taking my revolver, I hurried down-
stairs and out-of-doors, forgetting my hat in my haste.  Euphemia
screamed after me to be careful and keep the pistol pointed away
from me.

I whistled for the dog as I went out, but to my surprise he did not
answer.

"Has he been killed?" I thought, and, for a moment, I wished that I
was a large family of brothers--all armed.

But on my way to the barn I met a person approaching with a lantern
and a dog.  It was Pomona, and she had a milk-pail on her arm.

"See here, sir," she said, "it's mor'n half full.  I just made up
my mind that I'd learn to milk--if it took me all night.  I didn't
go to bed at all, and I've been at the barn fur an hour.  And there
ain't no need of my goin' after no man in the mornin'," said she,
hanging up the barn key on its nail.

I simply mention this circumstance to show what kind of a girl
Pomona had grown to be.

We were all the time at work in some way, improving our little
place.  "Some day we will buy it," said Euphemia.  We intended to
have some wheat put in in the fall and next year we would make the
place fairly crack with luxuriance.  We would divide the duties of
the farm, and, among other things, Euphemia would take charge of
the chickens.  She wished to do this entirely herself, so that
there might be one thing that should be all her own, just as my
work in town was all my own.  As she wished to buy the chickens and
defray all the necessary expenses out of her own private funds, I
could make no objections, and, indeed, I had no desire to do so.
She bought a chicken-book, and made herself mistress of the
subject.  For a week, there was a strong chicken flavor in all our
conversation.

This was while the poultry yard was building.  There was a chicken-
house on the place, but no yard, and Euphemia intended to have a
good big one, because she was going into the business to make
money.

"Perhaps my chickens may buy the place," she said, and I very much
hoped they would.

Everything was to be done very systematically.  She would have
Leghorns, Brahmas, and common fowls.  The first, because they laid
so many eggs; the second, because they were such fine, big fowls,
and the third, because they were such good mothers.

"We will eat, and sell the eggs of the first and third classes,"
she said, "and set the eggs of the second class, under the hens of
the third class."

"There seems to be some injustice in that arrangement," I said,
"for the first class will always be childless; the second class
will have nothing to do with their offspring, while the third will
be obliged to bring up and care for the children of others."

But I really had no voice in this matter.  As soon as the carpenter
had finished the yard, and had made some coops and other necessary
arrangements, Euphemia hired a carriage and went about the country
to buy chickens.  It was not easy to find just what she wanted, and
she was gone all day.

However, she brought home an enormous Brahma cock and ten hens,
which number was pretty equally divided into her three classes.
She was very proud of her purchases, and indeed they were fine
fowls.  In the evening I made some allusion to the cost of all this
carpenter work, carriage-hire, etc., besides the price of the
chickens.

"O!" said she, "you don't look at the matter in the right light.
You haven't studied it up as I have.  Now, just let me show you how
this thing will pay, if carried on properly."  Producing a piece of
paper covered with figures, she continued: "I begin with ten hens--
I got four common ones, because it would make it easier to
calculate.  After a while, I set these ten hens on thirteen eggs
each; three of these eggs will probably spoil,--that leaves ten
chickens hatched out.  Of these, I will say that half die, that
will make five chickens for each hen; you see, I leave a large
margin for loss.  This makes fifty chickens, and when we add the
ten hens, we have sixty fowls at the end of the first year.  Next
year I set these sixty and they bring up five chickens each,--I am
sure there will be a larger proportion than this, but I want to be
safe,--and that is three hundred chickens; add the hens, and we
have three hundred and sixty at the end of the second year.  In the
third year, calculating in the same safe way, we shall have twenty-
one hundred and sixty chickens; in the fourth year there will be
twelve thousand nine hundred and sixty, and at the end of the fifth
year, which is as far as I need to calculate now, we shall have
sixty-four thousand and eight hundred chickens.  What do you think
of that?  At seventy-five cents apiece,--a very low price,--that
would be forty-eight thousand and six hundred dollars.  Now, what
is the petty cost of a fence, and a few coops, by the side of a sum
like that?"

"Nothing at all," I answered.  "It is lost like a drop in the
ocean.  I hate, my dear, to interfere in any way with such a
splendid calculation as that, but I would like to ask you one
question."

"Oh, of course," she said, "I suppose you are going to say
something about the cost of feeding all this poultry.  That is to
come out of the chickens supposed to die.  They won't die.  It is
ridiculous to suppose that each hen will bring up but five
chickens.  The chickens that will live, out of those I consider as
dead, will more than pay for the feed."

"That is not what I was going to ask you, although of course it
ought to be considered.  But you know you are only going to set
common hens, and you do not intend to raise any.  Now, are those
four hens to do all the setting and mother-work for five years, and
eventually bring up over sixty-four thousand chickens?"

"Well, I DID make a mistake there," she said, coloring a little.
"I'll tell you what I'll do; I'll set every one of my hens every
year."

"But all those chickens may not be hens.  You have calculated that
every one of them would set as soon as it was old enough."

She stopped a minute to think this over.

"Two heads are better than one, I see," she said, directly.  "I'll
allow that one-half of all the chickens are roosters, and that will
make the profits twenty-four thousand three hundred dollars--more
than enough to buy this place."

"Ever so much more," I cried.  "This Rudder Grange is ours!"



CHAPTER IX.

WE CAMP OUT.


My wife and I were both so fond of country life and country
pursuits that month after month passed by at our little farm in a
succession of delightful days.  Time flew like a "limited express"
train, and it was September before we knew it.

I had been working very hard at the office that summer, and was
glad to think of my two weeks' vacation, which were to begin on the
first Monday of the month.  I had intended spending these two weeks
in rural retirement at home, but an interview in the city with my
family physician caused me to change my mind.  I told him my plan.

"Now," said he, "if I were you, I'd do nothing of the kind.  You
have been working too hard; your face shows it.  You need rest and
change.  Nothing will do you so much good as to camp out; that will
be fifty times better than going to any summer resort.  You can
take your wife with you.  I know she'll like it.  I don't care
where you go so that it's a healthy spot.  Get a good tent and an
outfit, be off to the woods, and forget all about business and
domestic matters for a few weeks."

This sounded splendid, and I propounded the plan to Euphemia that
evening.  She thought very well of it, and was sure we could do it.
Pomona would not be afraid to remain in the house, under the
protection of Lord Edward, and she could easily attend to the cow
and the chickens.  It would be a holiday for her too.  Old John,
the man who occasionally worked for us, would come up sometimes and
see after things.  With her customary dexterity Euphemia swept away
every obstacle to the plan, and all was settled before we went to
bed.

As my wife had presumed, Pomona made no objections to remaining in
charge of the house.  The scheme pleased her greatly.  So far, so
good.  I called that day on a friend who was in the habit of
camping out to talk to him about getting a tent and the necessary
"traps" for a life in the woods.  He proved perfectly competent to
furnish advice and everything else.  He offered to lend me all I
needed.  He had a complete outfit; had done with them for the year,
and I was perfectly welcome.  Here was rare luck.  He gave me a
tent, camp-stove, dishes, pots, gun, fishing-tackle, a big canvas
coat with dozens of pockets riveted on it, a canvas hat, rods,
reels, boots that came up to my hips, and about a wagon-load of
things in all.  He was a real good fellow.

We laid in a stock of canned and condensed provisions, and I bought
a book on camping out so as to be well posted on the subject.  On
the Saturday before the first Monday in September we would have
been entirely ready to start had we decided on the place where we
were to go.

We found it very difficult to make this decision.  There were
thousands of places where people went to camp out, but none of them
seemed to be the place for us.  Most of them were too far away.  We
figured up the cost of taking ourselves and our camp equipage to
the Adirondacks, the lakes, the trout-streams of Maine, or any of
those well-known resorts, and we found that we could not afford
such trips, especially for a vacation of but fourteen days.

On Sunday afternoon we took a little walk.  Our minds were still
troubled about the spot toward which we ought to journey next day,
and we needed the soothing influences of Nature.  The country to
the north and west of our little farm was very beautiful.  About
half a mile from the house a modest river ran; on each side of it
were grass-covered fields and hills, and in some places there were
extensive tracks of woodlands.

"Look here!" exclaimed Euphemia, stopping short in the little path
that wound along by the river bank.  "Do you see this river, those
woods, those beautiful fields, with not a soul in them or anywhere
near them; and those lovely blue mountains over there?"--as she
spoke she waved her parasol in the direction of the objects
indicated, and I could not mistake them.  "Now what could we want
better than this?" she continued.  "Here we can fish, and do
everything that we want to.  I say, let us camp here on our own
river.  I can take you to the very spot for the tent.  Come on!"
And she was so excited about it that she fairly ran.

The spot she pointed out was one we had frequently visited in our
rural walks.  It was a grassy peninsula, as I termed it, formed by
a sudden turn of a creek which, a short distance below, flowed into
the river.  It was a very secluded spot.  The place was approached
through a pasture-field,--we had found it by mere accident,--and
where the peninsula joined the field (we had to climb a fence just
there), there was a cluster of chestnut and hickory trees, while
down near the point stood a wide-spreading oak.

"Here, under this oak, is the place for the tent," said Euphemia,
her face flushed, her eyes sparkling, and her dress a little torn
by getting over the fence in a hurry.  "What do we want with your
Adirondacks and your Dismal Swamps?  This is the spot for us!"

"Euphemia," said I, in as composed a tone as possible, although my
whole frame was trembling with emotion, "Euphemia, I am glad I
married you!"

Had it not been Sunday, we would have set up our tent that night.

Early the next morning, old John's fifteen-dollar horse drew from
our house a wagon-load of camp-fixtures.  There was some difficulty
in getting the wagon over the field, and there were fences to be
taken down to allow of its passage; but we overcame all obstacles,
and reached the camp-ground without breaking so much as a teacup.
Old John helped me pitch the tent, and as neither of us understood
the matter very well, it took us some time.  It was, indeed, nearly
noon when old John left us, and it may have been possible that he
delayed matters a little so as to be able to charge for a full
half-day for himself and horse.  Euphemia got into the wagon to
ride back with him, that she might give some parting injunctions to
Pomona.

"I'll have to stop a bit to put up the fences, ma'am," said old
John, "or Misther Ball might make a fuss."

"Is this Mr. Ball's land?" I asked.

"Oh yes, sir, it's Mr. Ball's land."

"I wonder how he'll like our camping on it?" I said, thoughtfully.

"I'd 'a' thought, sir, you'd 'a' asked him that before you came,"
said old John, in a tone that seemed to indicate that he had his
doubts about Mr. Ball.

"Oh, there'll be no trouble about that," cried Euphemia.  "You can
drive me past Mr. Ball's,--it's not much out of the way,--and I'll
ask him."

"In that wagon?" said I.  "Will you stop at Mr. Ball's door in
that?"

"Certainly," said she, as she arranged herself on the board which
served as a seat.  "Now that our campaign has really commenced, we
ought to begin to rough it, and should not be too proud to ride
even in a--in a--"

She evidently couldn't think of any vehicle mean enough for her
purpose.

"In a green-grocery cart," I suggested.

"Yes, or in a red one.  Go ahead, John."

When Euphemia returned on foot, I had a fire in the camp-stove and
the kettle was on.

"Well," said Euphemia, "Mr. Ball says it's all right, if we keep
the fence up.  He don't want his cows to get into the creek, and
I'm sure we don't want 'em walking over us.  He couldn't
understand, though, why we wanted to live out here.  I explained
the whole thing to him very carefully, but it didn't seem to make
much impression on him.  I believe he thinks Pomona has something
the matter with her, and that we have come to stay out here in the
fresh air so as not to take it."

"What an extremely stupid man Mr. Ball must be!" I said.

The fire did not burn very well, and while I was at work at it,
Euphemia spread a cloth upon the grass, and set forth bread and
butter, cheese, sardines, potted ham, preserves, biscuits, and a
lot of other things.

We did not wait for the kettle to boil, but concluded to do without
tea or coffee, for this meal, and content ourselves with pure
water.  For some reason or other, however, the creek water did not
seem to be very pure, and we did not like it a bit.

"After lunch," said I, "we will go and look for a spring; that will
be a good way of exploring the country."

"If we can't find one," said Euphemia, "we shall have to go to the
house for water, for I can never drink that stuff."

Soon after lunch we started out.  We searched high and low, near
and far, for a spring, but could not find one.

At length, by merest accident, we found ourselves in the vicinity
of old John's little house.  I knew he had a good well, and so we
went in to get a drink, for our ham and biscuits had made us very
thirsty.

We told old John, who was digging potatoes, and was also very much
surprised to see us so soon, about our unexpected trouble in
finding a spring.

"No," said he, very slowly, "there is no spring very near to you.
Didn't you tell your gal to bring you water?"

"No," I replied; "we don't want her coming down to the camp.  She
is to attend to the house."

"Oh, very well," said John; "I will bring you water, morning and
night,--good, fresh water,--from my well, for,--well, for ten cents
a day."

"That will be nice," said Euphemia, "and cheap, too.  And then it
will be well to have John come every day; he can carry our
letters."

"I don't expect to write any letters."

"Neither do I," said Euphemia; "but it will be pleasant to have
some communication with the outer world."

So we engaged old John to bring us water twice a day.  I was a
little disappointed at this, for I thought that camping on the edge
of a stream settled the matter of water.  But we have many things
to learn in this world.

Early in the afternoon I went out to catch some fish for supper.
We agreed to dispense with dinner, and have breakfast, lunch, and a
good solid supper.

For some time I had poor luck.  There were either very few fish in
the creek, or they were not hungry.

I had been fishing an hour or more when I saw Euphemia running
toward me.

"What's the matter?" said I.

"Oh! nothing.  I've just come to see how you were getting along.
Haven't you been gone an awfully long time?  And are those all the
fish you've caught?  What little bits of things they are!  I
thought people who camped out caught big fish and lots of them?"

"That depends a good deal upon where they go," said I.

"Yes, I suppose so," replied Euphemia; "but I should think a stream
as big as this would have plenty of fish in it.  However, if you
can't catch any, you might go up to the road and watch for Mr.
Mulligan.  He sometimes comes along on Mondays."

"I'm not going to the road to watch for any fish-man," I replied, a
little more testily than I should have spoken.  "What sort of a
camping out would that be?  But we must not be talking here or I
shall never get a bite.  Those fish are a little soiled from
jumping about in the dust.  You might wash them off at that shallow
place, while I go a little further on and try my luck."

I went a short distance up the creek, and threw my line into a
dark, shadowy pool, under some alders, where there certainly should
be fish.  And, sure enough, in less than a minute I got a splendid
bite,--not only a bite, but a pull.  I knew that I had certainly
hooked a big fish!  The thing actually tugged at my line so that I
was afraid the pole would break.  I did not fear for the line, for
that, I knew, was strong.  I would have played the fish until he
was tired, and I could pull him out without risk to the pole, but I
did not know exactly how the process of "playing" was conducted.  I
was very much excited.  Sometimes I gave a jerk and a pull, and
then the fish would give a jerk and a pull.

Directly I heard some one running toward me, and then I heard
Euphemia cry out:

"Give him the butt!  Give him the butt!"

"Give him what?" I exclaimed, without having time even to look up
at her.

"The butt! the butt!" she cried, almost breathlessly.  "I know
that's right!  I read how Edward Everett Hale did it in the
Adirondacks."

"No, it wasn't Hale at all," said I, as I jumped about the bank;
"it was Mr. Murray."

"Well, it was one of those fishing ministers, and I know that it
caught the fish."

"I know, I know.  I read it, but I don't know how to do it."

"Perhaps you ought to punch him with it," said she.

"No! no!" I hurriedly replied, "I can't do anything like that.  I'm
going to try to just pull him out lengthwise.  You take hold of the
pole and go in shore as far as you can and I'll try and get hold of
the line."

Euphemia did as I bade her, and drew the line in so that I could
reach it.  As soon as I had a firm hold of it, I pulled in,
regardless of consequences, and hauled ashore an enormous cat-fish.

"Hurrah!" I shouted, "here is a prize."

Euphemia dropped the pole, and ran to me.

"What a horrid beast!" she exclaimed.  "Throw it in again."

"Not at all!" said I.  "This is a splendid fish, if I can ever get
him off the hook.  Don't come near him!  If he sticks that back-fin
into you, it will poison you."

"Then I should think it would poison us to eat him," said she.

"No; it's only his fin."

"I've eaten cat-fish, but I never saw one like that," she said.
"Look at its horrible mouth!  And it has whiskers like a cat!"

"Oh! you never saw one with its head on," I said.  "What I want to
do is to get this hook out."

I had caught cat-fish before, but never one so large as this, and I
was actually afraid to take hold of it, knowing, as I did, that you
must be very careful how you clutch a fish of the kind.  I finally
concluded to carry it home as it was, and then I could decapitate
it, and take out the hook at my leisure.  So back to camp we went,
Euphemia picking up the little fish as we passed, for she did not
think it right to catch fish and not eat them.  They made her hands
smell, it is true; but she did not mind that when we were camping.

I prepared the big fish (and I had a desperate time getting the
skin off), while my wife, who is one of the daintiest cooks in the
world, made the fire in the stove, and got ready the rest of the
supper.  She fried the fish, because I told her that was the way
cat-fish ought to be cooked, although she said that it seemed very
strange to her to camp out for the sake of one's health, and then
to eat fried food.

But that fish was splendid!  The very smell of it made us hungry.
Everything was good, and when supper was over and the dishes
washed, I lighted my pipe and we sat down under a tree to enjoy the
evening.

The sun had set behind the distant ridge; a delightful twilight was
gently subduing every color of the scene; the night insects were
beginning to hum and chirp, and a fire that I had made under a tree
blazed up gayly, and threw little flakes of light into the shadows
under the shrubbery.

"Now isn't this better than being cooped up in a narrow,
constricted house?" said I.

"Ever so much better!" said Euphemia.  "Now we know what Nature is.
We are sitting right down in her lap, and she is cuddling us up.
Isn't that sky lovely?  Oh! I think this is perfectly splendid,"
said she, making a little dab at her face,--"if it wasn't for the
mosquitoes."

"They ARE bad," I said.  "I thought my pipe would keep them off,
but it don't.  There must be plenty of them down at that creek."

"Down there!" exclaimed Euphemia.  "Why there are thousands of them
here!  I never saw anything like it.  They're getting worse every
minute."

"I'll tell you what we must do," I exclaimed, jumping up.  "We must
make a smudge."

"What's that? do you rub it on yourself?" asked Euphemia,
anxiously.

"No, it's only a great smoke.  Come, let us gather up dry leaves
and make a smoldering fire of them."

We managed to get up a very fair smudge, and we stood to the
leeward of it, until Euphemia began to cough and sneeze, as if her
head would come off.  With tears running from her eyes, she
declared that she would rather go and be eaten alive, than stay in
that smoke.

"Perhaps we were too near it," said I.

"That may be," she answered, "but I have had enough smoke.  Why
didn't I think of it before?  I brought two veils!  We can put
these over our faces, and wear gloves."

She was always full of expedients.

Veiled and gloved, we bade defiance to the mosquitoes, and we sat
and talked for half an hour or more.  I made a little hole in my
veil, through which I put the mouth-piece of my pipe.

When it became really dark, I lighted the lantern, and we prepared
for a well-earned night's rest.  The tent was spacious and
comfortable, and we each had a nice little cot-bed.

"Are you going to leave the front-door open all night?" said
Euphemia, as I came in after a final round to see that all was
right.

"I should hardly call this canvas-flap a front-door," I said, "but
I think it would be better to leave it open; otherwise we should
smother.  You need not be afraid.  I shall keep my gun here by my
bedside, and if any one offers to come in, I'll bring him to a full
stop quick enough."

"Yes, if you are awake.  But I suppose we ought not to be afraid of
burglars here.  People in tents never are.  So you needn't shut
it."

It was awfully quiet and dark and lonely, out there by that creek,
when the light had been put out, and we had gone to bed.  For some
reason I could not go to sleep.  After I had been lying awake for
an hour or two, Euphemia spoke:

"Are you awake?" said she, in a low voice, as if she were afraid of
disturbing the people in the next room.

"Yes," said I.  "How long have you been awake?"

"I haven't been asleep."

"Neither have I."

"Suppose we light the lantern," said she.  "Don't you think it
would be pleasanter?"

"It might be," I replied; "but it would draw myriads of mosquitoes.
I wish I had brought a mosquito-net and a clock.  It seems so
lonesome without the ticking.  Good-night!  We ought to have a long
sleep, if we do much tramping about to-morrow."

In about half an hour more, just as I was beginning to be a little
sleepy, she said:

"Where is that gun?"

"Here by me," I answered.

"Well, if a man should come in, try and be sure to put it up close
to him before you fire.  In a little tent like this, the shot might
scatter everywhere, if you're not careful."

"All right," I said.  "Good-night!"

"There's one thing we never thought of!" she presently exclaimed.

"What's that," said I.

"Snakes," said she.

"Well, don't let's think of them.  We must try and get a little
sleep."

"Dear knows!  I've been trying hard enough," she said, plaintively,
and all was quiet again.

We succeeded this time in going to sleep, and it was broad daylight
before we awoke.

That morning, old John came with our water before breakfast was
ready.  He also brought us some milk, as he thought we would want
it.  We considered this a good idea, and agreed with him to bring
us a quart a day.

"Don't you want some wegetables?" said he.  "I've got some nice
corn and some tomatoes, and I could bring you cabbage and peas."

We had hardly expected to have fresh vegetables every day, but
there seemed to be no reason why old John should not bring them, as
he had to come every day with the water and milk.  So we arranged
that he should furnish us daily with a few of the products of his
garden.

"I could go to the butcher's and get you a steak or some chops, if
you'd let me know in the morning," said he, intent on the profits
of further commissions.

But this was going too far.  We remembered we were camping out, and
declined to have meat from the butcher.

John had not been gone more than ten minutes before we saw Mr. Ball
approaching.

"Oh, I hope he isn't going to say we can't stay!" exclaimed
Euphemia.

"How d'ye do?" said Mr. Ball, shaking hands with us.  "Did you
stick it out all night?"

"Oh yes, indeed," I replied, "and expect to stick it out for a many
more nights if you don't object to our occupying your land."

"No objection in the world," said he; "but it seems a little queer
for people who have a good house to be living out here in the
fields in a tent, now, don't it?"

"Oh, but you see," said I, and I went on and explained the whole
thing to him,--the advice of the doctor, the discussion about the
proper place to go to, and the good reasons for fixing on this
spot.

"Ye-es," said he, "that's all very well, no doubt.  But how's the
girl?"

"What girl?" I asked.

"Your girl.  The hired girl you left at the house."

"Oh, she's all right," said I; "she's always well."

"Well," said Mr. Ball, slowly turning on his heel, "if you say so,
I suppose she is.  But you're going up to the house to-day to see
about her, aren't you?"

"Oh, no," said Euphemia.  "We don't intend to go near the house
until our camping is over."

"Just so,--just so," said Mr. Ball; "I expected as much.  But look
here, don't you think it would be well for me to ask Dr. Ames to
stop in and see how she is gettin' along?  I dare say you've fixed
everything for her, but that would be safer, you know.  He's coming
this morning to vaccinate my baby, and he might stop there, just as
well as not, after he has left my house."

Euphemia and I could see no necessity for this proposed visit of
the doctor, but we could not well object to it, and so Mr. Ball
said he would be sure and send him.

After our visitor had gone, the significance of his remarks flashed
on me.  He still thought that Pomona was sick with something
catching, and that we were afraid to stay in the house with her.
But I said nothing about this to Euphemia.  It would only worry
her, and our vacation was to be a season of unalloyed delight.



CHAPTER X.

WET BLANKETS.


We certainly enjoyed our second day in camp.  All the morning, and
a great part of the afternoon, we "explored."  We fastened up the
tent as well as we could, and then, I with my gun, and Euphemia
with the fishing-pole, we started up the creek.  We did not go very
far, for it would not do to leave the tent too long.  I did not
shoot anything, but Euphemia caught two or three nice little fish,
and we enjoyed the sport exceedingly.

Soon after we returned in the afternoon, and while we were getting
things in order for supper, we had a call from two of our
neighbors, Captain Atkinson and wife.  The captain greeted us
hilariously.

"Hello!" he cried.  "Why, this is gay.  Who would ever have thought
of a domestic couple like you going on such a lark as this.  We
just heard about it from old John, and we came down to see what you
are up to.  You've got everything very nice.  I think I'd like this
myself.  Why, you might have a rifle-range out here.  You could cut
down those bushes on the other side of the creek, and put up your
target over there on that hill.  Then you could lie down here on
the grass and bang away all day.  If you'll do that, I'll come down
and practice with you.  How long are you going to keep it up?"

I told him that we expected to spend my two weeks' vacation here.

"Not if it rains, my boy," said he.  "I know what it is to camp out
in the rain."

Meanwhile, Mrs. Atkinson had been with Euphemia examining the tent,
and our equipage generally.

"It would be very nice for a day's picnic," she said; "but I
wouldn't want to stay out-of-doors all night."

And then, addressing me, she asked:

"Do you have to breathe the fresh air all the time, night as well
as day?  I expect that is a very good prescription, but I would not
like to have to follow it myself."

"If the fresh air is what you must have," said the captain, "you
might have got all you wanted of that without taking the trouble to
come out here.  You could have sat out on your back porch night and
day for the whole two weeks, and breathed all the fresh air that
any man could need."

"Yes," said I, "and I might have gone down cellar and put my head
in the cold-air box of the furnace.  But there wouldn't have been
much fun in that."

"There are a good many things that there's no fun in," said the
captain.  "Do you cook your own meals, or have them sent from the
house?"

"Cook them ourselves, of course," said Euphemia.  "We are going to
have supper now.  Won't you wait and take some?"

"Thank you," said Mrs. Atkinson, "but we must go."

"Yes, we must be going," said the captain.  "Good-bye.  If it rains
I'll come down after you with an umbrella."

"You need not trouble yourself about that," said I.  "We shall
rough it out, rain or shine."

"I'd stay here now," said Euphemia, when they had gone, "if it
rained pitch."

"You mean pitchforks," I suggested.

"Yes, anything," she answered.

"Well, I don't know about the pitchforks," I said, looking over the
creek at the sky; "but am very much afraid that it is going to rain
rain-water to-morrow.  But that won't drive us home, will it?"

"No, indeed!" said she.  "We're prepared for it.  But I wish they'd
staid at home."

Sure enough, it commenced to rain that night, and we had showers
all the next day.  We staid in camp during the morning, and I
smoked and we played checkers, and had a very cosy time, with a
wood fire burning under a tree near by.  We kept up this fire, not
to dry the air, but to make things look comfortable.  In the
afternoon I dressed myself up in water-proof coat, boots and hat,
and went out fishing.  I went down to the water and fished along
the banks for an hour, but caught nothing of any consequence.  This
was a great disappointment, for we had expected to live on fresh
fish for a great part of the time while we were camping.  With
plenty of fish, we could do without meat very well.

We talked the matter over on my return, and we agreed that as it
seemed impossible to depend upon a supply of fish, from the waters
about our camp, it would be better to let old John bring fresh meat
from the butcher, and as neither of us liked crackers, we also
agreed that he should bring bread.

Our greatest trouble, that evening, was to make a fire.  The wood,
of which there was a good deal lying about under the trees, was now
all wet and would not burn.  However, we managed to get up a fire
in the stove, but I did not know what we were going to do in the
morning.  We should have stored away some wood under shelter.

We set our little camp-table in the tent, and we had scarcely
finished our supper, when a very heavy rain set in, accompanied by
a violent wind.  The canvas at one end of our tent must have been
badly fastened, for it was blown in, and in an instant our beds
were deluged.  I rushed out to fasten up the canvas, and got
drenched almost to the skin, and although Euphemia put on her
waterproof cloak as soon as she could, she was pretty wet, for the
rain seemed to dash right through the tent.

This gust of wind did not last long, and the rain soon settled down
into a steady drizzle, but we were in a sad plight.  It was after
nine o'clock before we had put things into tolerable order.

"We can't sleep in those beds," said Euphemia.

"They're as wet as sop, and we shall have to go up to the house and
get something to spread over them.  I don't want to do it, but we
mustn't catch our deaths of cold."

There was nothing to be said against this, and we prepared to start
out.  I would have gone by myself, but Euphemia would not consent
to be left alone.  It was still raining, though not very hard, and
I carried an umbrella and a lantern.  Climbing fences at night with
a wife, a lantern, and an umbrella to take care of, is not very
agreeable, but we managed to reach the house, although once or
twice we had an argument in regard to the path, which seemed to be
very different at night from what it was in the day-time.

Lord Edward came bounding to the gate to meet us, and I am happy to
say that he knew me at once, and wagged his tail in a very sociable
way.

I had the key of a side-door in my pocket, for we had thought it
wise to give ourselves command of this door, and so we let
ourselves in without ringing or waking Pomona.

All was quiet within, and we went upstairs with the lantern.
Everything seemed clean and in order, and it is impossible to
convey any idea of the element of comfort which seemed to pervade
the house, as we quietly made our way upstairs, in our wet boots
and heavy, damp clothes.

The articles we wanted were in a closet, and while I was making a
bundle of them, Euphemia went to look for Pomona.  She soon
returned, walking softly.

"She's sound asleep," said she, "and I didn't think there was any
need of waking her.  We'll send word by John that we've been here.
And oh! you can't imagine how snug and happy she did look, lying
there in her comfortable bed, in that nice, airy room.  I'll tell
you what it is, if it wasn't for the neighbors, and especially the
Atkinsons, I wouldn't go back one step."

"Well," said I, "I don't know that I care so particularly about it,
myself.  But I suppose I couldn't stay here and leave all
Thompson's things out there to take care of themselves."

"Oh no!" said Euphemia.  "And we're not going to back down.  Are
you ready?"

On our way down-stairs we had to pass the partly open door of our
own room.  I could not help holding up the lantern to look in.
There was the bed, with its fair white covering and its smooth,
soft pillows; there were the easy-chairs, the pretty curtains, the
neat and cheerful carpet, the bureau, with Euphemia's work-basket
on it; there was the little table with the book that we had been
reading together, turned face downward upon it; there were my
slippers; there was--

"Come!" said Euphemia, "I can't bear to look in there.  It's like a
dead child."

And so we hurried out into the night and the rain.  We stopped at
the wood-shed and got an armful of dry kindling, which Euphemia was
obliged to carry, as I had the bundle of bed-clothing, the
umbrella, and the lantern.

Lord Edward gave a short, peculiar bark as we shut the gate behind
us, but whether it was meant as a fond farewell, or a hoot of
derision, I cannot say.

We found everything as we left it at the camp, and we made our beds
apparently dry.  But I did not sleep well.  I could not help
thinking that it was not safe to sleep in a bed with a substratum
of wet mattress, and I worried Euphemia a little by asking her
several times if she felt the dampness striking through.

To our great delight, the next day was fine and clear, and I
thought I would like, better than anything else, to take Euphemia
in a boat up the river and spend the day rowing about, or resting
in shady places on the shore.

But what could we do about the tent?  It would be impossible to go
away and leave that, with its contents, for a whole day.

When old John came with our water, milk, bread, and a basket of
vegetables, we told him of our desired excursion, and the
difficulty in the way.  This good man, who always had a keen scent
for any advantage to himself, warmly praised the boating plan, and
volunteered to send his wife and two of his younger children to
stay with the tent while we were away.

The old woman, he said, could do her sewing here as well as
anywhere, and she would stay all day for fifty cents.

This plan pleased us, and we sent for Mrs. Old John, who came with
three of her children,--all too young to leave behind, she said,--
and took charge of the camp.

Our day proved to be as delightful as we had anticipated, and when
we returned, hungry and tired, we were perfectly charmed to find
that Mrs. Old John had our supper ready for us.

She charged a quarter, extra, for this service, and we did not
begrudge it to her, though we declined her offer to come every day
and cook and keep the place in order.

"However," said Euphemia, on second thoughts, "you may come on
Saturday and clean up generally."

The next day, which was Friday, I went out in the morning with the
gun.  As yet I had shot nothing, for I had seen no birds about the
camp, which, without breaking the State laws, I thought I could
kill, and so I started off up the river-road.

I saw no game, but after I had walked about a mile, I met a man in
a wagon.

"Hello," said he, pulling up; "you'd better be careful how you go
popping around here on the public roads, frightening horses."

As I had not yet fired a single shot, I thought this was a very
impudent speech, and I think so still.

"You had better wait until I begin to pop," said I, "before you
make such a fuss about it."

"No," said he, "I'd rather make the fuss before you begin.  My
horse is skittish," and he drove off.

This man annoyed me; but as I did not, of course, wish to frighten
horses, I left the road and made my way back to the tent over some
very rough fields.  It was a poor day for birds, and I did not get
a shot.

"What a foolish man!" said Euphemia, when I told her the above
incident, "to talk that way when you stood there with a gun in your
hand.  You might have raked his wagon, fore and aft."

That afternoon, as Euphemia and I were sitting under a tree by the
tent, we were very much surprised to see Pomona come walking down
the peninsula.

I was annoyed and provoked at this.  We had given Pomona positive
orders not to leave the place, under any pretense, while we were
gone.  If necessary to send for anything, she could go to the
fence, back of the barn, and scream across a small field to some of
the numerous members of old John's family.  Under this arrangement,
I felt that the house was perfectly safe.

Before she could reach us, I called out:

"Why did you leave the house, Pomona?  Don't you know you should
never come away and leave the house empty?  I thought I had made
you understand that."

"It isn't empty," said Pomona, in an entirely unruffled tone.
"Your old boarder is there, with his wife and child."

Euphemia and I looked at each other in dismay.

"They came early this afternoon," continued Pomona, "by the 1:14
train, and walked up, he carrying the child."

"It can't be," cried Euphemia.  "Their child's married."

"It must have married very young, then," said Pomona, "for it isn't
over four years old now."

"Oh!" said Euphemia, "I know!  It's his grandchild."

"Grandchild!" repeated Pomona, with her countenance more expressive
of emotion than I had ever yet seen it.

"Yes," said Euphemia; "but how long are they going to stay?  Where
did you tell them we were?"

"They didn't say how long they was goin' to stay," answered Pomona.
"I told them you had gone to be with some friends in the country,
and that I didn't know whether you'd be home to-night or not."

"How could you tell them such a falsehood?" cried Euphemia.

"That was no falsehood," said Pomona; "it was true as truth.  If
you're not your own friends, I don't know who is.  And I wasn't a-
goin' to tell the boarder where you was till I found out whether
you wanted me to do it or not.  And so I left 'em and run over to
old John's, and then down here."

It was impossible to find fault with the excellent management of
Pomona.

"What were they doing?" asked Euphemia.

"I opened the parlor, and she was in there with the child,--putting
it to sleep on the sofa, I think.  The boarder was out in the yard,
tryin' to teach Lord Edward some tricks."

"He had better look out!" I exclaimed.

"Oh, the dog's chained and growlin' fearful!  What am I to do with
'em?"

This was a difficult point to decide.  If we went to see them, we
might as well break up our camp, for we could not tell when we
should be able to come back to it.

We discussed the matter very anxiously, and finally concluded that
under the circumstances, and considering what Pomona had said about
our whereabouts, it would be well for us to stay where we were and
for Pomona to take charge of the visitors.  If they returned to the
city that evening, she was to give them a good supper before they
went, sending John to the store for what was needed.  If they
stayed all night, she could get breakfast for them.

"We can write," said Euphemia, "and invite them to come and spend
some days with us, when we are at home and everything is all right.
I want dreadfully to see that child, but I don't see how I can do
it now."

"No," said I.  "They're sure to stay all night if we go up to the
house, and then I should have to have the tent and things hauled
away, for I couldn't leave them here."

"The fact is," said Euphemia, "if we were miles away, in the woods
of Maine, we couldn't leave our camp to see anybody.  And this is
practically the same."

"Certainly," said I; and so Pomona went away to her new charge.



CHAPTER XI.

THE BOARDER'S VISIT.


For the rest of the afternoon, and indeed far into the night, our
conversation consisted almost entirely of conjectures regarding the
probable condition of things at the house.  We both thought we had
done right, but we felt badly about it.  It was not hospitable, to
be sure; but then I should have no other holiday until next year,
and our friends could come at any time to see us.

The next morning old John brought a note from Pomona.  It was
written with pencil on a small piece of paper torn from the margin
of a newspaper, and contained the words, "Here yit."

"So you've got company," said old John, with a smile.  "That's a
queer gal of yourn.  She says I mustn't tell 'em you're here.  As
if I'd tell 'em!"

We knew well enough that old John was not at all likely to do
anything that would cut off the nice little revenue he was making
out of our camp, and so we felt no concern on that score.

But we were very anxious for further news, and we told old John to
go to the house about ten o'clock and ask Pomona to send us another
note.

We waited, in a very disturbed condition of mind, until nearly
eleven o'clock, when old John came with a verbal message from
Pomona:

"She says she's a-comin' herself as soon as she can get a chance to
slip off."

This was not pleasant news.  It filled our minds with a confused
mass of probabilities, and it made us feel mean.  How contemptible
it seemed to be a party to this concealment and in league with a
servant-girl who has to "slip off!"

Before long, Pomona appeared, quite out of breath.

"In all my life," said she, "I never see people like them two.  I
thought I was never goin' to get away."

"Are they there yet?" cried Euphemia.

"How long are they going to stay?"

"Dear knows!" replied Pomona.  "Their valise came up by express
last night."

"Oh, we'll have to go up to the house," said Euphemia.  "It won't
do to stay away any longer."

"Well," said Pomona, fanning herself with her apron, "if you know'd
all I know, I don't think you'd think so."

"What do you mean?" said Euphemia.

"Well, ma'am, they've just settled down and taken possession of the
whole place.  He says to me that he know'd you'd both want them to
make themselves at home, just as if you was there, and they thought
they'd better do it.  He asked me did I think you would be home by
Monday, and I said I didn't know, but I guessed you would.  So says
he to his wife, 'Won't that be a jolly lark?  We'll just keep house
for them here till they come.  And he says he would go down to the
store and order some things, if there wasn't enough in the house,
and he asked her to see what would be needed, which she did, and
he's gone down for 'em now.  And she says that, as it was Saturday,
she'd see that the house was all put to rights; and after breakfast
she set me to sweepin'; and it's only by way of her dustin' the
parlor and givin' me the little girl to take for a walk that I got
off at all."

"But what have you done with the child?" exclaimed Euphemia.

"Oh, I left her at old Johnses."

"And so you think they're pleased with having the house to
themselves?" I said.

"Pleased, sir?" replied Pomona; "they're tickled to death."

"But how do you like having strangers telling you what to do?"
asked Euphemia.

"Oh, well," said Pomona, "he's no stranger, and she's real
pleasant, and if it gives you a good camp out, I don't mind."

Euphemia and I looked at each other.  Here was true allegiance.  We
would remember this.

Pomona now hurried off, and we seriously discussed the matter, and
soon came to the conclusion that while it might be the truest
hospitality to let our friends stay at our house for a day or two
and enjoy themselves, still it would not do for us to allow
ourselves to be governed by a too delicate sentimentality.  We must
go home and act our part of host and hostess.

Mrs. Old John had been at the camp ever since breakfast-time,
giving the place a Saturday cleaning.  What she had found to occupy
her for so long a time I could not imagine, but in her efforts to
put in a full half-day's work, I have no doubt she scrubbed some of
the trees.  We had been so fully occupied with our own affairs that
we had paid very little attention to her, but she had probably
heard pretty much all that had been said.

At noon we paid her (giving her, at her suggestion, something extra
in lieu of the midday meal, which she did not stay to take), and
told her to send her husband, with his wagon, as soon as possible,
as we intended to break up our encampment.  We determined that we
would pack everything in John's wagon, and let him take the load to
his house, and keep it there until Monday, when I would have the
tent and accompaniments expressed to their owner.  We would go home
and join our friends.  It would not be necessary to say where we
had been.

It was hard for us to break up our camp.  In many respects we had
enjoyed the novel experience, and we had fully expected, during the
next week, to make up for all our short-comings and mistakes.  It
seemed like losing all our labor and expenditure, to break up now,
but there was no help for it.  Our place was at home.

We did not wish to invite our friends to the camp.  They would
certainly have come had they known we were there, but we had no
accommodations for them, neither had we any desire for even
transient visitors.  Besides, we both thought that we would prefer
that our ex-boarder and his wife should not know that we were
encamped on that little peninsula.

We set to work to pack up and get ready for moving, but the
afternoon passed away without bringing old John.  Between five and
six o'clock along came his oldest boy, with a bucket of water.

"I'm to go back after the milk," he said.

"Hold up!" I cried.  "Where is your father and his wagon?  We've
been waiting for him for hours."

"The horse is si--  I mean he's gone to Ballville for oats."

"And why didn't he send and tell me?" I asked.

"There wasn't nobody to send," answered the boy.

"You are not telling the truth," exclaimed Euphemia; "there is
always some one to send, in a family like yours."

To this the boy made no answer, but again said that he would go
after the milk.

"We want you to bring no milk," I cried, now quite angry.  "I want
you to go down to the station, and tell the driver of the express-
wagon to come here immediately.  Do you understand?  Immediately."

The boy declared he understood, and started off quite willingly.
We did not prefer to have the express-wagon, for it was too public
a conveyance, and, besides, old John knew exactly how to do what
was required.  But we need not have troubled ourselves.  The
express-wagon did not come.

When it became dark, we saw that we could not leave that night.
Even if a wagon did come, it would not be safe to drive over the
fields in the darkness.  And we could not go away and leave the
camp-equipage.  I proposed that Euphemia should go up to the house,
while I remained in camp.  But she declined.  We would keep
together, whatever happened, she said.

We unpacked our cooking-utensils and provisions, and had supper.
There was no milk for our coffee, but we did not care.  The evening
did not pass gayly.  We were annoyed by the conduct of old John and
the express-boy, though, perhaps, it was not their fault.  I had
given them no notice that I should need them.

And we were greatly troubled at the continuance of the secrecy and
subterfuge which now had become really necessary, if we did not
wish to hurt our friends' feelings.

The first thing that I thought of, when I opened my eyes in the
morning, was the fact that we would have to stay there all day, for
we could not move on Sunday.

But Euphemia did not agree with me.  After breakfast (we found that
the water and the milk had been brought very early, before we were
up) she stated that she did not intend to be treated in this way.
She was going up to old John's house herself; and away she went.

In less than half an hour, she returned, followed by old John and
his wife, both looking much as if they had been whipped.

"These people," said she, "have entered into a conspiracy against
us.  I have questioned them thoroughly, and have made them answer
me.  The horse was at home yesterday, and the boy did not go after
the express-wagon.  They thought that if they could keep us here,
until our company had gone, we would stay as long as we originally
intended, and they would continue to make money out of us.  But
they are mistaken.  We are going home immediately."

At this point I could not help thinking that Euphemia might have
consulted me in regard to her determination, but she was very much
in earnest, and I would not have any discussion before these
people.

"Now, listen!" said Euphemia, addressing the down-cast couple, "we
are going home, and you two are to stay here all this day and to-
night, and take care of these things.  You can't work to-day, and
you can shut up your house, and bring your whole family here if you
choose.  We will pay you for the service,--although you do not
deserve a cent,--and we will leave enough here for you to eat.  You
must bring your own sheets and pillowcases, and stay here until we
see you on Monday morning."

Old John and his wife agreed to this plan with the greatest
alacrity, apparently well pleased to get off so easily; and, having
locked up the smaller articles of camp-furniture, we filled a
valise with our personal baggage and started off home.

Our house and grounds never looked prettier than they did that
morning, as we stood at the gate.  Lord Edward barked a welcome
from his shed, and before we reached the door, Pomona came running
out, her face radiant.

"I'm awful glad to see you back," she said; "though I'd never have
said so while you was in camp."

I patted the dog and looked into the garden.  Everything was
growing splendidly.  Euphemia rushed to the chicken-yard.  It was
in first-rate order, and there were two broods of little yellow
puffy chicks.

Down on her knees went my wife, to pick up the little creatures,
one by one, press their downy bodies to her cheek, and call them
tootsy-wootsies, and away went I to the barn, followed by Pomona,
and soon afterward by Euphemia.

The cow was all right.

"I've been making butter," said Pomona, "though it don't look
exactly like it ought to, yet, and the skim-milk I didn't know what
to do with, so I gave it to old John.  He came for it every day,
and was real mad once because I had given a lot of it to the dog,
and couldn't let him have but a pint."

"He ought to have been mad," said I to Euphemia, as we walked up to
the house.  "He got ten cents a quart for that milk."

We laughed, and didn't care.  We were too glad to be at home.

"But where are our friends?" I asked Pomona.  We had actually
forgotten them.

"Oh! they're gone out for a walk," said she.  "They started off
right after breakfast."

We were not sorry for this.  It would be so much nicer to see our
dear home again when there was nobody there but ourselves.  In-
doors we rushed.  Our absence had been like rain on a garden.
Everything now seemed fresher and brighter and more delightful.  We
went from room to room, and seemed to appreciate better than ever
what a charming home we had.

We were so full of the delights of our return that we forgot all
about the Sunday dinner and our guests, but Pomona, whom my wife
was training to be an excellent cook, did not forget, and Euphemia
was summoned to a consultation in the kitchen.

Dinner was late; but our guests were later.  We waited as long as
the state of the provisions and our appetites would permit, and
then we sat down to the table and began to eat slowly.  But they
did not come.  We finished our meal, and they were still absent.
We now became quite anxious, and I proposed to Euphemia that we
should go and look for them.

We started out, and our steps naturally turned toward the river.
An unpleasant thought began to crowd itself into my mind, and
perhaps the same thing happened to Euphemia, for, without saying
anything to each other, we both turned toward the path that led to
the peninsula.  We crossed the field, climbed the fence, and there,
in front of the tent sat our old boarder splitting sticks with the
camp-hatchet.

"Hurrah!" he cried, springing to his feet when he saw us.  "How
glad I am to see you back!  When did you return?  Isn't this
splendid?"

"What?" I said, as we shook hands.

"Why this," he cried, pointing to the tent.  "Don't you see?  We're
camping out."

"You are?" I exclaimed, looking around for his wife, while Euphemia
stood motionless, actually unable to make a remark.

"Certainly we are.  It's the rarest bit of luck.  My wife and Adele
will be here directly.  They've gone to look for water-cresses.
But I must tell you how I came to make this magnificent find.  We
started out for a walk this morning, and we happened to hit on this
place, and here we saw this gorgeous tent with nobody near but a
little tow-headed boy."

"Only a boy?" cried Euphemia.

"Yes, a young shaver of about nine or ten.  I asked him what he was
doing here, and he told me that this tent belonged to a gentleman
who had gone away, and that he was here to watch it until he came
back.  Then I asked him how long the owner would probably be away,
and he said he supposed for a day or two.  Then a splendid idea
struck me.  I offered the boy a dollar to let me take his place: I
knew that any sensible man would rather have me in charge of his
tent, than a young codger like that.  The boy agreed as quick as
lightning, and I paid him and sent him off.  You see how little he
was to be trusted!  The owner of this tent will be under the
greatest obligations to me.  Just look at it!" he cried.  "Beds,
table, stove,--everything anybody could want.  I've camped out lots
of times, but never had such a tent as this.  I intended coming up
this afternoon after my valise, and to tell your girl where we are.
But here is my wife and little Adele."

In the midst of the salutations and the mutual surprise, Euphemia
cried:

"But you don't expect to camp out, now?  You are coming back to our
house?"

"You see," said the ex-boarder, "we should never have thought of
doing anything so rude, had we supposed you would have returned so
soon.  But your girl gave us to understand that you would not be
back for days, and so we felt free to go at any time; and I did not
hesitate to make this arrangement.  And now that I have really
taken the responsibility of the tent and fixtures on myself, I
don't think it would be right to go away and leave the place,
especially as I don't know where to find that boy.  The owner will
be back in a day or two, and I would like to explain matters to him
and give up the property in good order into his hands.  And, to
tell the truth, we both adore camping-out, and we may never have
such a chance again.  We can live here splendidly.  I went out to
forage this morning, and found an old fellow living near by who
sold me a lot of provisions--even some coffee and sugar--and he's
to bring us some milk.  We're going to have supper in about an
hour; won't you stay and take a camp-meal with us?  It will be a
novelty for you, at any rate."

We declined this invitation, as we had so lately dined.  I looked
at Euphemia with a question in my eye.  She understood me, and
gently shook her head.  It would be a shame to make any
explanations which might put an end to this bit of camp-life, which
evidently was so eagerly enjoyed by our old friend.  But we
insisted that they should come up to the house and see us, and they
agreed to dine with us the next evening.  On Tuesday, they must
return to the city.

"Now, this is what I call real hospitality," said the ex-boarder,
warmly grasping my hand.  I could not help agreeing with him.

As we walked home, I happened to look back and saw old John going
over the fields toward the camp, carrying a little tin-pail and a
water bucket.

The next day, toward evening, a storm set in, and at the hour fixed
for our dinner, the rain was pouring down in such torrents that we
did not expect our guests.  After dinner the rain ceased, and as we
supposed that they might not have made any preparations for a meal,
Euphemia packed up some dinner for them in a basket, and I took it
down to the camp.

They were glad to see me, and said they had a splendid time all
day.  They were up before sunrise, and had explored, tramped,
boated, and I don't know what else.

My basket was very acceptable, and I would have stayed awhile with
them, but as they were obliged to eat in the tent, there was no
place for me to sit, it being too wet outside, and so I soon came
away.

We were in doubt whether or not to tell our friends the true
history of the camp.  I thought that it was not right to keep up
the deception, while Euphemia declared that if they were sensitive
people, they would feel very badly at having broken up our plans by
their visit, and then having appropriated our camp to themselves.
She thought it would be the part of magnanimity to say nothing
about it.

I could not help seeing a good deal of force in her arguments,
although I wished very much to set the thing straight, and we
discussed the matter again as we walked down to the camp, after
breakfast next morning.

There we found old John sitting on a stump.  He said nothing, but
handed me a note written in lead-pencil on a card.  It was from our
ex-boarder, and informed me that early that morning he had found
that there was a tug lying in the river, which would soon start for
the city.  He also found that he could get passage on her for his
party, and as this was such a splendid chance to go home without
the bother of getting up to the station, he had just bundled his
family and his valise on board, and was very sorry they did not
have time to come up and bid us good-bye.  The tent he left in
charge of a very respectable man, from whom he had had supplies.

That morning I had the camp-equipage packed up and expressed to its
owner.  We did not care to camp out any more that season, but
thought it would be better to spend the rest of my vacation at the
sea-shore.

Our ex-boarder wrote to us that he and his wife were anxious that
we should return their visit during my holidays; but as we did not
see exactly how we could return a visit of the kind, we did not try
to do it.



CHAPTER XII.

LORD EDWARD AND THE TREE-MAN.


It was winter at Rudder Grange.  The season was the same at other
places, but that fact did not particularly interest Euphemia and
myself.  It was winter with us, and we were ready for it.  That was
the great point, and it made us proud to think that we had not been
taken unawares, notwithstanding the many things that were to be
thought of on a little farm like ours.

It is true that we had always been prepared for winter, wherever we
had lived; but this was a different case.  In other days it did not
matter much whether we were ready or not; but now our house, our
cow, our poultry, and indeed ourselves, might have suffered,--there
is no way of finding out exactly how much,--if we had not made all
possible preparations for the coming of cold weather.

But there was a great deal yet to be thought of and planned out,
although we were ready for winter.  The next thing to think of was
spring.

We laid out the farm.  We decided where we would have wheat, corn,
potatoes, and oats.  We would have a man by the day to sow and
reap.  The intermediate processes I thought I could attend to
myself.

Everything was talked over, ciphered over, and freely discussed by
my wife and myself, except one matter, which I planned and worked
out alone, doing most of the necessary calculations at the office,
so as not to excite Euphemia's curiosity.

I had determined to buy a horse.  This would be one of the most
important events of our married life, and it demanded a great deal
of thought, which I gave it.

The horse was chosen for me by a friend.  He was an excellent beast
(the horse), excelling, as my friend told me, in muscle and wit.
Nothing better than this could be said about a horse.  He was a
sorrel animal, quite handsome, gentle enough for Euphemia to drive,
and not too high-minded to do a little farm-work, if necessary.  He
was exactly the animal I needed.

The carriage was not quite such a success.  The horse having cost a
good deal more than I expected to pay, I found that I could only
afford a second-hand carriage.  I bought a good, serviceable
vehicle, which would hold four persons, if necessary, and there was
room enough to pack all sorts of parcels and baskets.  It was with
great satisfaction that I contemplated this feature of the
carriage, which was a rather rusty-looking affair, although sound
and strong enough.  The harness was new, and set off the horse
admirably.

On the afternoon when my purchases were completed, I did not come
home by the train.  I drove home in my own carriage, drawn by my
own horse!  The ten miles' drive was over a smooth road, and the
sorrel traveled splendidly.  If I had been a line of kings a mile
long, all in their chariots of state, with gold and silver, and
outriders, and music, and banners waving in the wind, I could not
have been prouder than when I drew up in front of my house.

There was a wagon-gate at one side of the front fence which had
never been used except by the men who brought coal, and I got out
and opened this, very quietly, so as not to attract the attention
of Euphemia.  It was earlier than I usually returned, and she would
not be expecting me.  I was then about to lead the horse up a
somewhat grass-grown carriage-way to the front door, but I
reflected that Euphemia might be looking out of some of the windows
and I had better drive up.  So I got in and drove very slowly to
the door.

However, she heard the unaccustomed noise of wheels, and looked out
of the parlor window.  She did not see me, but immediately came
around to the door.  I hurried out of the carriage so quickly that,
not being familiar with the steps, I barely escaped tripping.

When she opened the front door she was surprised to see me standing
by the horse.

"Have you hired a carriage?" she cried.  "Are we going to ride?"

"My dear," said I, as I took her by the hand, "we are going to
ride.  But I have not hired a carriage.  I have bought one.  Do you
see this horse?  He is ours--our own horse."

If you could have seen the face that was turned up to me,--all you
other men in the world,--you would have torn your hair in despair.

Afterward she went around and around that horse; she patted his
smooth sides; she looked, with admiration, at his strong, well-
formed legs; she stroked his head; she smoothed his mane; she was
brimful of joy.

When I had brought the horse some water in a bucket--and what a
pleasure it was to water one's own horse!--Euphemia rushed into the
house and got her hat and cloak, and we took a little drive.

I doubt if any horse ever drew two happier people.  Euphemia said
but little about the carriage.  That was a necessary adjunct, and
it was good enough for the present.  But the horse!  How nobly and
with what vigor he pulled us up the hills and how carefully and
strongly he held the carriage back as we went down!  How easily he
trotted over the level road, caring nothing for the ten miles he
had gone that afternoon!  What a sensation of power it gave us to
think that all that strength and speed and endurance was ours, that
it would go where we wished, that it would wait for us as long as
we chose, that it was at our service day and night, that it was a
horse, and we owned it!

When we returned, Pomona saw us drive in,--she had not known of our
ride,--and when she heard the news she was as wild with proud
delight as anybody.  She wanted to unharness him, but this I could
not allow.  We did not wish to be selfish, but after she had seen
and heard what we thought was enough for her, we were obliged to
send her back to the kitchen for the sake of the dinner.

Then we unharnessed him.  I say we, for Euphemia stood by and I
explained everything, for some day, she said, she might want to do
it herself.  Then I led him into the stable.  How nobly he trod,
and how finely his hoofs sounded on the stable floor!

There was hay in the mow and I had brought a bag of oats under the
seat of the carriage.

"Isn't it just delightful," said Euphemia, "that we haven't any
man?  If we had a man he would take the horse at the door, and we
should be deprived of all this.  It wouldn't be half like owning a
horse."

In the morning I drove down to the station, Euphemia by my side.
She drove back and Old John came up and attended to the horse.
This he was to do, for the present, for a small stipend.  In the
afternoon Euphemia came down after me.  How I enjoyed those rides!
Before this I had thought it ever so much more pleasant and
healthful to walk to and from the station than to ride, but then I
did not own a horse.  At night I attended to everything, Euphemia
generally following me about the stable with a lantern.  When the
days grew longer we would have delightful rides after dinner, and
even now we planned to have early breakfasts, and go to the station
by the longest possible way.

One day, in the following spring, I was riding home from the
station with Euphemia,--we seldom took pleasure-drives now, we were
so busy on the place,--and as we reached the house I heard the dog
barking savagely.  He was loose in the little orchard by the side
of the house.  As I drove in, Pomona came running to the carriage.

"Man up the tree!" she shouted.

I helped Euphemia out, left the horse standing by the door, and ran
to the dog, followed by my wife and Pomona.  Sure enough, there was
a man up the tree, and Lord Edward was doing his best to get at
him, springing wildly at the tree and fairly shaking with rage.

I looked up at the man, he was a thoroughbred tramp, burly, dirty,
generally unkempt, but, unlike most tramps, he looked very much
frightened.  His position, on a high crotch of an apple-tree, was
not altogether comfortable, and although, for the present, it was
safe, the fellow seemed to have a wavering faith in the strength of
apple-tree branches, and the moment he saw me, he earnestly
besought me to take that dog away, and let him down.

I made no answer, but turning to Pomona, I asked her what this all
meant.

"Why, sir, you see," said she, "I was in the kitchen bakin' pies,
and this fellow must have got over the fence at the side of the
house, for the dog didn't see him, and the first thing I know'd he
was stickin' his head in the window, and he asked me to give him
somethin' to eat.  And when I said I'd see in a minute if there was
anything for him, he says to me, 'Gim me a piece of one of them
pies,'--pies I'd just baked and was settin' to cool on the kitchen
table!  'No, sir,' says I, 'I'm not goin' to cut one of them pies
for you, or any one like you.'  'All right!' says he.  'I'll come
in and help myself.'  He must have known there was no man about,
and, comin' the way he did, he hadn't seen the dog.  So he come
round to the kitchen door, but I shot out before he got there and
unchained Lord Edward.  I guess he saw the dog, when he got to the
door, and at any rate he heard the chain clankin', and he didn't go
in, but just put for the gate.  But Lord Edward was after him so
quick that he hadn't no time to go to no gates.  It was all he
could do to scoot up this tree, and if he'd been a millionth part
of a minute later he'd 'a' been in another world by this time."

The man, who had not attempted to interrupt Pomona's speech, now
began again to implore me to let him down, while Euphemia looked
pitifully at him, and was about, I think, to intercede with me in
his favor, but my attention was drawn off from her, by the strange
conduct of the dog.  Believing, I suppose, that he might leave the
tramp for a moment, now that I had arrived, he had dashed away to
another tree, where he was barking furiously, standing on his hind
legs and clawing at the trunk.

"What's the matter over there?" I asked.

"Oh, that's the other fellow," said Pomona.  "He's no harm."  And
then, as the tramp made a movement as if he would try to come down,
and make a rush for safety, during the absence of the dog, she
called out, "Here, boy! here, boy!" and in an instant Lord Edward
was again raging at his post, at the foot of the apple-tree.

I was grievously puzzled at all this, and walked over to the other
tree, followed, as before, by Euphemia and Pomona.

"This one," said the latter, "is a tree-man--"

"I should think so," said I, as I caught sight of a person in gray
trowsers standing among the branches of a cherry-tree not very far
from the kitchen door.  The tree was not a large one, and the
branches were not strong enough to allow him to sit down on them,
although they supported him well enough, as he stood close to the
trunk just out of reach of Lord Edward.

"This is a very unpleasant position, sir," said he, when I reached
the tree.  "I simply came into your yard, on a matter of business,
and finding that raging beast attacking a person in a tree, I had
barely time to get up into this tree myself, before he dashed at
me.  Luckily I was out of his reach; but I very much fear I have
lost some of my property."

"No, he hasn't," said Pomona.  "It was a big book he dropped.  I
picked it up and took it into the house.  It's full of pictures of
pears and peaches and flowers.  I've been lookin' at it.  That's
how I knew what he was.  And there was no call for his gittin' up a
tree.  Lord Edward never would have gone after him if he hadn't run
as if he had guilt on his soul."

"I suppose, then," said I, addressing the individual in the cherry-
tree, "that you came here to sell me some trees."

"Yes, sir," said he quickly, "trees, shrubs, vines, evergreens,--
everything suitable for a gentleman's country villa.  I can sell
you something quite remarkable, sir, in the way of cherry-trees,--
French ones, just imported; bear fruit three times the size of
anything that could be produced on a tree like this.  And pears--
fruit of the finest flavor and enormous size--"

"Yes," said Pomona.  "I seen them in the book.  But they must grow
on a ground-vine.  No tree couldn't hold such pears as them."

Here Euphemia reproved Pomona's forwardness, and I invited the
tree-agent to get down out of the tree.

"Thank you," said he; "but not while that dog is loose.  If you
will kindly chain him up, I will get my book, and show you
specimens of some of the finest small fruit in the world, all
imported from the first nurseries of Europe--the Red-gold Amber
Muscat grape,--the--"

"Oh, please let him down!" said Euphemia, her eyes beginning to
sparkle.

I slowly walked toward the tramp-tree, revolving various matters in
my mind.  We had not spent much money on the place during the
winter, and we now had a small sum which we intended to use for the
advantage of the farm, but had not yet decided what to do with it.
It behooved me to be careful.

I told Pomona to run and get me the dog-chain, and I stood under
the tree, listening, as well as I could, to the tree-agent talking
to Euphemia, and paying no attention to the impassioned entreaties
of the tramp in the crotch above me.  When the chain was brought, I
hooked one end of it in Lord Edward's collar, and then I took a
firm grasp of the other.  Telling Pomona to bring the tree-agent's
book from the house, I called to that individual to get down from
his tree.  He promptly obeyed, and taking the book from Pomona,
began to show the pictures to Euphemia.

"You had better hurry, sir," I called out.  "I can't hold this dog
very long."  And, indeed, Lord Edward had made a run toward the
agent, which jerked me very forcibly in his direction.  But a
movement by the tramp had quickly brought the dog back to his more
desired victim.

"If you will just tie up that dog, sir," said the agent, "and come
this way, I would like to show you the Meltinagua pear,--dissolves
in the mouth like snow, sir; trees will bear next year."

"Oh, come look at the Royal Sparkling Ruby grape!" cried Euphemia.
"It glows in the sun like a gem."

"Yes," said the agent, "and fills the air with fragrance during the
whole month of September--"

"I tell you," I shouted, "I can't hold this dog another minute!
The chain is cutting the skin off my hands.  Run, sir, run!  I'm
going to let go!"

"Run! run!" cried Pomona.  "Fly for your life!"

The agent now began to be frightened, and shut up his book.

"If you only could see the plates, sir, I'm sure--"

"Are you ready?" I cried, as the dog, excited by Pomona's wild
shouts, made a bolt in his direction.

"Good-day, if I must--" said the agent, as he hurried to the gate.
But there he stopped.

"There is nothing, sir," he said, "that would so improve your place
as a row of the Spitzenberg Sweet-scented Balsam fir along this
fence.  I'll sell you three-year-old trees--"

"He's loose!" I shouted, as I dropped the chain.

In a second the agent was on the other side of the gate.  Lord
Edward made a dash toward him; but, stopping suddenly, flew back to
the tree of the tramp.

"If you should conclude, sir," said the tree-agent, looking over
the fence, "to have a row of those firs along here--"

"My good sir," said I, "there is no row of firs there now, and the
fence is not very high.  My dog, as you see, is very much excited
and I cannot answer for the consequences if he takes it into his
head to jump over."

The tree-agent turned and walked slowly away.

"Now, look-a-here," cried the tramp from the tree, in the voice of
a very ill-used person, "ain't you goin' to fasten up that dog, and
let me git down?"

I walked up close to the tree and addressed him.

"No," said I, "I am not.  When a man comes to my place, bullies a
young girl who was about to relieve his hunger, and then boldly
determines to enter my house and help himself to my property, I
don't propose to fasten up any dog that may happen to be after him.
If I had another dog, I'd let him loose, and give this faithful
beast a rest.  You can do as you please.  You can come down and
have it out with the dog, or you can stay up there, until I have
had my dinner.  Then I will drive down to the village and bring up
the constable, and deliver you into his hands.  We want no such
fellows as you about."

With that, I unhooked the chain from Lord Edward, and walked off to
put up the horse.  The man shouted after me, but I paid no
attention.  I did not feel in a good humor with him.

Euphemia was much disturbed by the various occurrences of the
afternoon.  She was sorry for the man in the tree; she was sorry
that the agent for the Royal Ruby grape had been obliged to go
away; and I had a good deal of trouble during dinner to make her
see things in the proper light.  But I succeeded at last.

I did not hurry through dinner, and when we had finished I went to
my work at the barn.  Tramps are not generally pressed for time,
and Pomona had been told to give our captive something to eat.

I was just locking the door of the carriage-house, when Pomona came
running to me to tell me that the tramp wanted to see me about
something very important--just a minute, he said.  I put the key in
my pocket and walked over to the tree.  It was now almost dark, but
I could see that the dog, the tramp, and the tree still kept their
respective places.

"Look-a-here," said the individual in the crotch, "you don't know
how dreadful oneasy these limbs gits after you've been settin up
here as long as I have.  And I don't want to have nuthin to do with
no constables.  I'll tell you what I'll do if you'll chain up that
dog, and let me go, I'll fix things so that you'll not be troubled
no more by no tramps."

"How will you do that?" I asked.

"Oh, never you mind," said he.  "I'll give you my word of honor
I'll do it.  There's a reg'lar understandin' among us fellers, you
know."

I considered the matter.  The word of honor of a fellow such as he
was could not be worth much, but the merest chance of getting rid
of tramps should not be neglected.  I went in to talk to Euphemia
about it, although I knew what she would say.  I reasoned with
myself as much as with her.

"If we put this one fellow in prison for a few weeks," I said, "the
benefit is not very great.  If we are freed from all tramps, for
the season, the benefit is very great.  Shall we try for the
greatest good?"

"Certainly," said Euphemia; "and his legs must be dreadfully
stiff."

So I went out, and after a struggle of some minutes, I chained Lord
Edward to a post at a little distance from the apple-tree.  When he
was secure, the tramp descended nimbly from his perch,
notwithstanding his stiff legs, and hurried out of the gate.  He
stopped to make no remarks over the fence.  With a wild howl of
disappointed ambition, Lord Edward threw himself after him.  But
the chain held.

A lane of moderate length led from our house to the main road, and
the next day, as we were riding home, I noticed, on the trunk of a
large tree, which stood at the corner of the lane and road, a
curious mark.  I drew up to see what it was, but we could not make
it out.  It was a very rude device, cut deeply into the tree, and
somewhat resembled a square, a circle, a triangle, and a cross,
with some smaller marks beneath it.  I felt sure that our tramp had
cut it, and that it had some significance, which would be
understood by the members of his fraternity.

And it must have had, for no tramps came near us all that summer.
We were visited by a needy person now and then, but by no member of
the regular army of tramps.

One afternoon, that fall, I walked home, and at the corner of the
lane I saw a tramp looking up at the mark on the tree, which was
still quite distinct.

"What does that mean?" I said, stepping up to him.

"How do I know?" said the man, "and what do you want to know fur?"

"Just out of curiosity," I said; "I have often noticed it.  I think
you can tell me what it means, and if you will do so, I'll give you
a dollar."

"And keep mum about it?" said the man.

"Yes," I replied, taking out the dollar.

"All right!" said the tramp.  "That sign means that the man that
lives up this lane is a mean, stingy cuss, with a wicked dog, and
it's no good to go there."

I handed him the dollar and went away, perfectly satisfied with my
reputation.

I wish here to make some mention of Euphemia's methods of work in
her chicken-yard.  She kept a book, which she at first called her
"Fowl Record," but she afterward changed the name to "Poultry
Register."  I never could thoroughly understand this book, although
she has often explained every part of it to me.  She had pages for
registering the age, description, time of purchase or of birth, and
subsequent performances of every fowl in her yard.  She had
divisions of the book for expenses, profits, probable losses and
positive losses; she noted the number of eggs put under each
setting hen; the number of eggs cracked per day, the number
spoiled, and finally, the number hatched.  Each chick, on emerging
from its shell, was registered, and an account kept of its
subsequent life and adventures.  There were frequent calculations
regarding the advantages of various methods of treatment, and there
were statements of the results of a great many experiments--
something like this: "Set Toppy and her sister Pinky, April 2nd
187-; Toppy with twelve eggs,--three Brahma, four common, and five
Leghorn; Pinky with thirteen eggs (as she weighs four ounces more
than her sister), of which three were Leghorn, five common, and
five Brahma.  During the twenty-second and twenty-third of April
(same year) Toppy hatched out four Brahmas, two commons, and three
Leghorns, while her sister, on these days and the morning of the
day following, hatched two Leghorns, six commons, and only one
Brahma.  Now, could Toppy, who had only three Brahma eggs, and
hatched out four of that breed, have exchanged eggs with her
sister, thus making it possible for her to hatch out six common
chickens, when she only had five eggs of that kind?  Or, did the
eggs get mixed up in some way before going into the possession of
the hens?  Look into probabilities."

These probabilities must have puzzled Euphemia a great deal, but
they never disturbed her equanimity.  She was always as tranquil
and good-humored about her poultry-yard as if every hen laid an egg
every day, and a hen-chick was hatched out of every egg.

For it may be remembered that the principle underlying Euphemia's
management of her poultry was what might be designated as the
"cumulative hatch."  That is, she wished every chicken hatched in
her yard to become the mother of a brood of her own during the
year, and every one of this brood to raise another brood the next
year, and so on, in a kind of geometrical progression.  This plan
called for a great many mother-fowls, and so Euphemia based her
highest hopes on a great annual preponderance of hens.

We ate a good many young roosters that fall, for Euphemia would not
allow all the products of her yard to go to market, and, also, a
great many eggs and fowls were sold.  She had not contented herself
with her original stock of poultry, but had bought fowls during the
winter, and she certainly had extraordinary good luck, or else her
extraordinary system worked extraordinarily well.



CHAPTER XIII.

POMONA'S NOVEL.


It was in the latter part of August of that year that it became
necessary for some one in the office in which I was engaged to go
to St. Louis to attend to important business.  Everything seemed to
point to me as the fit person, for I understood the particular
business better than any one else.  I felt that I ought to go, but
I did not altogether like to do it.  I went home, and Euphemia and
I talked over the matter far into the regulation sleeping-hours.

There were very good reasons why we should go (for, of course, I
would not think of taking such a journey without Euphemia).  In the
first place, it would be of advantage to me, in my business
connection, to take the trip, and then it would be such a charming
journey for us.  We had never been west of the Alleghanies, and
nearly all the country we would see would be new to us.  We would
come home by the great lakes and Niagara, and the prospect was
delightful to both of us.  But then we would have to leave Rudder
Grange for at least three weeks, and how could we do that?

This was indeed a difficult question to answer.  Who could take
care of our garden, our poultry, our horse and cow, and all their
complicated belongings?  The garden was in admirable condition.
Our vegetables were coming in every day in just that fresh and
satisfactory condition--altogether unknown to people who buy
vegetables--for which I had labored so faithfully, and about which
I had had so many cheerful anticipations.  As to Euphemia's
chicken-yard,--with Euphemia away,--the subject was too great for
us.  We did not even discuss it.  But we would give up all the
pleasures of our home for the chance of this most desirable
excursion, if we could but think of some one who would come and
take care of the place while we were gone.  Rudder Grange could not
run itself for three weeks.

We thought of every available person.  Old John would not do.  We
did not feel that we could trust him.  We thought of several of our
friends; but there was, in both our minds, a certain shrinking from
the idea of handing over the place to any of them for such a length
of time.  For my part, I said, I would rather leave Pomona in
charge than any one else; but, then, Pomona was young and a girl.
Euphemia agreed with me that she would rather trust her than any
one else, but she also agreed in regard to the disqualifications.
So, when I went to the office the next morning, we had fully
determined to go on the trip, if we could find some one to take
charge of our place while we were gone.  When I returned from the
office in the afternoon, I had agreed to go to St. Louis.  By this
time, I had no choice in the matter, unless I wished to interfere
very much with my own interests.  We were to start in two days.  If
in that time we could get any one to stay at the place, very well;
if not, Pomona must assume the charge.  We were not able to get any
one, and Pomona did assume the charge.  It is surprising how
greatly relieved we felt when we were obliged to come to this
conclusion.  The arrangement was exactly what we wanted, and now
that there was no help for it, our consciences were easy.

We felt sure that there would be no danger to Pomona.  Lord Edward
would be with her, and she was a young person who was
extraordinarily well able to take care of herself.  Old John would
be within call in case she needed him, and I borrowed a bull-dog to
be kept in the house at night.  Pomona herself was more than
satisfied with the plan.

We made out, the night before we left, a long and minute series of
directions for her guidance in household, garden and farm matters,
and directed her to keep a careful record of everything note worthy
that might occur.  She was fully supplied with all the necessaries
of life, and it has seldom happened that a young girl has been left
in such a responsible and independent position as that in which we
left Pomona.  She was very proud of it.

Our journey was ten times more delightful than we had expected it
would be, and successful in every way; and yet, although we enjoyed
every hour of the trip, we were no sooner fairly on our way home
than we became so wildly anxious to get there, that we reached
Rudder Grange on Wednesday, whereas we had written that we would be
home on Thursday.  We arrived early in the afternoon and walked up
from the station, leaving our baggage to be sent in the express
wagon.  As we approached our dear home, we wanted to run, we were
so eager to see it.

There it was, the same as ever.  I lifted the gate-latch; the gate
was locked.  We ran to the carriage-gate; that was locked too.
Just then I noticed a placard on the fence; it was not printed, but
the lettering was large, apparently made with ink and a brush.  It
read:


     TO BE SOLD

      For TAXES.


We stood and looked at each other.  Euphemia turned pale.

"What does this mean?" said I.  "Has our landlord--"

I could say no more.  The dreadful thought arose that the place
might pass away from us.  We were not yet ready to buy it.  But I
did not put the thought in words.  There was a field next to our
lot, and I got over the fence and helped Euphemia over.  Then we
climbed our side-fence.  This was more difficult, but we
accomplished it without thinking much about its difficulties; our
hearts were too full of painful apprehensions.  I hurried to the
front door; it was locked.  All the lower windows were shut.  We
went around to the kitchen.  What surprised us more than anything
else was the absence of Lord Edward.  Had HE been sold?

Before we reached the back part of the house, Euphemia said she
felt faint and must sit down.  I led her to a tree near by, under
which I had made a rustic chair.  The chair was gone.  She sat on
the grass and I ran to the pump for some water.  I looked for the
bright tin dipper which always hung by the pump.  It was not there.
But I had a traveling-cup in my pocket, and as I was taking it out
I looked around me.  There was an air of bareness over everything.
I did not know what it all meant, but I know that my hand trembled
as I took hold of the pump-handle and began to pump.

At the first sound of the pump-handle I heard a deep bark in the
direction of the barn, and then furiously around the corner came
Lord Edward.  Before I had filled the cup he was bounding about me.
I believe the glad welcome of the dog did more to revive Euphemia
than the water.  He was delighted to see us, and in a moment up
came Pomona, running from the barn.  Her face was radiant, too.  We
felt relieved.  Here were two friends who looked as if they were
neither sold nor ruined.

Pomona quickly saw that we were ill at ease, and before I could put
a question to her, she divined the cause.  Her countenance fell.

"You know," said she, "you said you wasn't comin' till to-morrow.
If you only HAD come then--I was goin' to have everything just
exactly right--an' now you had to climb in--"

And the poor girl looked as if she might cry, which would have been
a wonderful thing for Pomona to do.

"Tell me one thing," said I.  "What about--those taxes?"

"Oh, that's all right," she cried.  "Don't think another minute
about that.  I'll tell you all about it soon.  But come in first,
and I'll get you some lunch in a minute."

We were somewhat relieved by Pomona's statement that it was "all
right" in regard to the tax-poster, but we were very anxious to
know all about the matter.  Pomona, however, gave us little chance
to ask her any questions.  As soon as she had made ready our lunch,
she asked us, as a particular favor, to give her three-quarters of
an hour to herself, and then, said she, "I'll have everything
looking just as if it was to-morrow."

We respected her feelings, for, of course, it was a great
disappointment to her to be taken thus unawares, and we remained in
the dining-room until she appeared, and announced that she was
ready for us to go about.  We availed ourselves quickly of the
privilege, and Euphemia hurried to the chicken-yard, while I bent
my steps toward the garden and barn.  As I went out I noticed that
the rustic chair was in its place, and passing the pump I looked
for the dipper.  It was there.  I asked Pomona about the chair, but
she did not answer as quickly as was her habit.

"Would you rather," said she, "hear it all together, when you come
in, or have it in little bits, head and tail, all of a jumble?"

I called to Euphemia and asked her what she thought, and she was so
anxious to get to her chickens that she said she would much rather
wait and hear it all together.  We found everything in perfect
order,--the garden was even free from weeds, a thing I had not
expected.  If it had not been for that cloud on the front fence, I
should have been happy enough.  Pomona had said it was all right,
but she could not have paid the taxes--however, I would wait; and I
went to the barn.

When Euphemia came in from the poultry-yard, she called me and said
she was in a hurry to hear Pomona's account of things.  So I went
in, and we sat on the side porch, where it was shady, while Pomona,
producing some sheets of foolscap paper, took her seat on the upper
step.

"I wrote down the things of any account what happened," said she,
"as you told me to, and while I was about it, I thought I'd make it
like a novel.  It would be jus' as true, and p'r'aps more amusin'.
I suppose you don't mind?"

No, we didn't mind.  So she went on.

"I haven't got no name for my novel.  I intended to think one out
to-night.  I wrote this all of nights.  And I don't read the first
chapters, for they tell about my birth and my parentage and my
early adventures.  I'll just come down to what happened to me while
you was away, because you'll be more anxious to hear about that.
All that's written here is true, jus' the same as if I told it to
you, but I've put it into novel language because it seems to come
easier to me."

And then, in a voice somewhat different from her ordinary tones, as
if the "novel language" demanded it, she began to read:

"Chapter Five.  The Lonely house and the Faithful friend.  Thus was
I left alone.  None but two dogs to keep me com-pa-ny.  I milk-ed
the lowing kine and water-ed and fed the steed, and then, after my
fru-gal repast, I clos-ed the man-si-on, shutting out all re-
collections of the past and also foresights into the future.  That
night was a me-mor-able one.  I slept soundly until the break of
morn, but had the events transpired which afterward occur-red, what
would have hap-pen-ed to me no tongue can tell.  Early the next day
nothing hap-pened.  Soon after breakfast, the vener-able John came
to bor-row some ker-osene oil and a half a pound of sugar, but his
attempt was foil-ed.  I knew too well the in-sid-ious foe.  In the
very out-set of his vil-li-an-y I sent him home with a empty can.
For two long days I wander-ed amid the ver-dant pathways of the
gar-den and to the barn, whenever and anon my du-ty call-ed me, nor
did I ere neg-lect the fowlery.  No cloud o'er-spread this happy
pe-ri-od of my life.  But the cloud was ri-sing in the horizon
although I saw it not.

"It was about twenty-five minutes after eleven, on the morning of a
Thursday, that I sat pondering in my mind the ques-ti-on what to do
with the butter and the veg-et-ables.  Here was butter, and here
was green corn and lima-beans and trophy tomats, far more than I
ere could use.  And here was a horse, idly cropping the fol-i-age
in the field, for as my employer had advis-ed and order-ed I had
put the steed to grass.  And here was a wagon, none too new, which
had it the top taken off, or even the curtains roll-ed up, would do
for a li-cen-ced vender.  With the truck and butter, and mayhap
some milk, I could load that wagon--"

"O, Pomona," interrupted Euphemia.  "You don't mean to say that you
were thinking of doing anything like that?"

"Well, I was just beginning to think of it," said Pomona, "but of
course I couldn't have gone away and left the house.  And you'll
see I didn't do it."  And then she continued her novel.  "But while
my thoughts were thus employ-ed, I heard Lord Edward burst into
bark-ter--"

At this Euphemia and I could not help bursting into laughter.
Pomona did not seem at all confused, but went on with her reading.

"I hurried to the door, and, look-ing out, I saw a wagon at the
gate.  Re-pair-ing there, I saw a man.  Said he, 'Wilt open this
gate?'  I had fasten-ed up the gates and remov-ed every steal-able
ar-ticle from the yard."

Euphemia and I looked at each other.  This explained the absence of
the rustic seat and the dipper.

"Thus, with my mind at ease, I could let my faith-ful fri-end, the
dog (for he it was), roam with me through the grounds, while the
fi-erce bull-dog guard-ed the man-si-on within.  Then said I, quite
bold, unto him, 'No.  I let in no man here.  My em-ploy-er and
employ-er-ess are now from home.  What do you want?'  Then says he,
as bold as brass, 'I've come to put the light-en-ing rods upon the
house.  Open the gate.'  'What rods?' says I.  'The rods as was
ordered,' says he, 'open the gate.'  I stood and gaz-ed at him.
Full well I saw through his pinch-beck mask.  I knew his tricks.
In the ab-sence of my em-ployer, he would put up rods, and ever so
many more than was wanted, and likely, too, some miser-able trash
that would attrack the light-ening, instead of keep-ing it off.
Then, as it would spoil the house to take them down, they would be
kept, and pay demand-ed.  'No, sir,' says I.  'No light-en-ing rods
upon this house whilst I stand here,' and with that I walk-ed away,
and let Lord Edward loose.  The man he storm-ed with pas-si-on.
His eyes flash-ed fire.  He would e'en have scal-ed the gate, but
when he saw the dog he did forbear.  As it was then near noon, I
strode away to feed the fowls; but when I did return, I saw a sight
which froze the blood with-in my veins--"

"The dog didn't kill him?" cried Euphemia.

"Oh no, ma'am!" said Pomona.  "You'll see that that wasn't it.  At
one corn-er of the lot, in front, a base boy, who had accompa-ni-ed
this man, was bang-ing on the fence with a long stick, and thus
attrack-ing to hisself the rage of Lord Edward, while the vile
intrig-er of a light-en-ing rod-der had brought a lad-der to the
other side of the house, up which he had now as-cend-ed, and was on
the roof.  What horrors fill-ed my soul!  How my form trembl-ed!
This," continued Pomona, "is the end of the novel," and she laid
her foolscap pages on the porch.

Euphemia and I exclaimed, with one voice, against this.  We had
just reached the most exciting part, and, I added, we had heard
nothing yet about that affair of the taxes.

"You see, sir," said Pomona, "it took me so long to write out the
chapters about my birth, my parentage, and my early adventures,
that I hadn't time to finish up the rest.  But I can tell you what
happened after that jus' as well as if I had writ it out."  And so
she went on, much more glibly than before, with the account of the
doings of the lightning-rod man.

"There was that wretch on top of the house, a-fixin' his old rods
and hammerin' away for dear life.  He'd brought his ladder over the
side fence, where the dog, a-barkin' and plungin' at the boy
outside, couldn't see him.  I stood dumb for a minute, an' then I
know'd I had him.  I rushed into the house, got a piece of well-
rope, tied it to the bull-dog's collar, an' dragged him out and
fastened him to the bottom rung of the ladder.  Then I walks over
to the front fence with Lord Edward's chain, for I knew that if he
got at that bull-dog there'd be times, for they'd never been
allowed to see each other yet.  So says I to the boy, 'I'm goin' to
tie up the dog, so you needn't be afraid of his jumpin' over the
fence,'--which he couldn't do, or the boy would have been a corpse
for twenty minutes, or may be half an hour.  The boy kinder
laughed, and said I needn't mind, which I didn't.  Then I went to
the gate, and I clicked to the horse which was standin' there, an'
off he starts, as good as gold, an' trots down the road.  The boy,
he said somethin' or other pretty bad, an' away he goes after him;
but the horse was a-trottin' real fast, an' had a good start."

"How on earth could you ever think of doing such things?" said
Euphemia.  "That horse might have upset the wagon and broken all
the lightning-rods, besides running over I don't know how many
people."

"But you see, ma'am, that wasn't my lookout," said Pomona.  "I was
a-defendin' the house, and the enemy must expect to have things
happen to him.  So then I hears an awful row on the roof, and there
was the man just coming down the ladder.  He'd heard the horse go
off, and when he got about half-way down an' caught a sight of the
bull-dog, he was madder than ever you seed a lightnin'-rodder in
all your born days.  'Take that dog off of there!' he yelled at me.
'No, I wont, says I.  'I never see a girl like you since I was
born,' he screams at me.  'I guess it would 'a' been better fur you
if you had,' says I; an' then he was so mad he couldn't stand it
any longer, and he comes down as low as he could, and when he saw
just how long the rope was,--which was pretty short,--he made a
jump, and landed clear of the dog.  Then he went on dreadful
because he couldn't get at his ladder to take it away; and I
wouldn't untie the dog, because if I had he'd 'a' torn the tendons
out of that fellow's legs in no time.  I never see a dog in such a
boiling passion, and yet never making no sound at all but blood-
curdlin' grunts.  An' I don't see how the rodder would 'a' got his
ladder at all if the dog hadn't made an awful jump at him, and
jerked the ladder down.  It just missed your geranium-bed, and the
rodder, he ran to the other end of it, and began pullin' it away,
dog an' all.  'Look-a-here,' says I, 'we can fix him now; and so he
cooled down enough to help me, and I unlocked the front door, and
we pushed the bottom end of the ladder in, dog and all; an' then I
shut the door as tight as it would go, an' untied the end of the
rope, an' the rodder pulled the ladder out while I held the door to
keep the dog from follerin', which he came pretty near doin',
anyway.  But I locked him in, and then the man began stormin' again
about his wagon; but when he looked out an' see the boy comin' back
with it,--for somebody must 'a' stopped the horse,--he stopped
stormin' and went to put up his ladder ag'in.  'No, you don't,'
says I; 'I'll let the big dog loose next time, and if I put him at
the foot of your ladder, you'll never come down.'  'But I want to
go and take down what I put up,' he says; 'I aint a-goin' on with
this job.'  ' No,' says I, 'you aint; and you can't go up there to
wrench off them rods and make rain-holes in the roof, neither.'  He
couldn't get no madder than he was then, an' fur a minute or two he
couldn't speak, an' then he says, 'I'll have satisfaction for
this.'  An' says I, 'How?  'An' says he, 'You'll see what it is to
interfere with a ordered job.'  An' says I, 'There wasn't no order
about it;' an' says he, 'I'll show you better than that;' an' he
goes to his wagon an' gits a book.  'There,' says he, 'read that.'
'What of it? 'says I 'there's nobody of the name of Ball lives
here.'  That took the man kinder aback, and he said he was told it
was the only house on the lane, which I said was right, only it was
the next lane he oughter 'a' gone to.  He said no more after that,
but just put his ladder in his wagon, and went off.  But I was not
altogether rid of him.  He left a trail of his baleful presence
behind him.

"That horrid bull-dog wouldn't let me come into the house!  No
matter what door I tried, there he was, just foamin' mad.  I let
him stay till nearly night, and then went and spoke kind to him;
but it was no good.  He'd got an awful spite ag'in me.  I found
something to eat down cellar, and I made a fire outside an' roasted
some corn and potatoes.  That night I slep' in the barn.  I wasn't
afraid to be away from the house, for I knew it was safe enough,
with that dog in it and Lord Edward outside.  For three days,
Sunday an' all, I was kep' out of this here house.  I got along
pretty well with the sleepin' and the eatin', but the drinkin' was
the worst.  I couldn't get no coffee or tea; but there was plenty
of milk."

"Why didn't you get some man to come and attend to the dog?" I
asked.  "It was dreadful to live that way."

"Well, I didn't know no man that could do it," said Pomona.  "The
dog would 'a' been too much for Old John, and besides, he was mad
about the kerosene.  Sunday afternoon, Captain Atkinson and Mrs.
Atkinson and their little girl in a push-wagon, come here, and I
told 'em you was gone away; but they says they would stop a minute,
and could I give them a drink; an' I had nothin' to give it to them
but an old chicken-bowl that I had washed out, for even the dipper
was in the house, an' I told 'em everything was locked up, which
was true enough, though they must 'a' thought you was a queer kind
of people; but I wasn't a-goin' to say nothin' about the dog, fur,
to tell the truth, I was ashamed to do it.  So as soon as they'd
gone, I went down into the cellar,--and it's lucky that I had the
key for the outside cellar door,--and I got a piece of fat corn-
beef and the meat-axe.  I unlocked the kitchen door and went in,
with the axe in one hand and the meat in the other.  The dog might
take his choice.  I know'd he must be pretty nigh famished, for
there was nothin' that he could get at to eat.  As soon as I went
in, he came runnin' to me; but I could see he was shaky on his
legs.  He looked a sort of wicked at me, and then he grabbed the
meat.  He was all right then."

"Oh, my!" said Euphemia, "I am so glad to hear that.  I was afraid
you never got in.  But we saw the dog--is he as savage yet?"

"Oh no!" said Pomona; "nothin' like it."

"Look here, Pomona," said I, "I want to know about those taxes.
When do they come into your story?"

"Pretty soon, sir," said she, and she went on:

"After that, I know'd it wouldn't do to have them two dogs so that
they'd have to be tied up if they see each other.  Just as like as
not I'd want them both at once, and then they'd go to fightin', and
leave me to settle with some blood-thirsty lightnin'-rodder.  So,
as I know'd if they once had a fair fight and found out which was
master, they'd be good friends afterwards, I thought the best thing
to do would be to let 'em fight it out, when there was nothin' else
for 'em to do.  So I fixed up things for the combat."

"Why, Pomona!" cried Euphemia, "I didn't think you were capable of
such a cruel thing."

"It looks that way, ma'am, but really it aint," replied the girl.
"It seemed to me as if it would be a mercy to both of 'em to have
the thing settled.  So I cleared away a place in front of the wood-
shed and unchained Lord Edward, and then I opened the kitchen door
and called the bull.  Out he came, with his teeth a-showin', and
his blood-shot eyes, and his crooked front legs.  Like lightnin'
from the mount'in blast, he made one bounce for the big dog, and
oh! what a fight there was!  They rolled, they gnashed, they
knocked over the wood-horse and sent chips a-flyin' all ways at
wonst.  I thought Lord Edward would whip in a minute or two; but he
didn't, for the bull stuck to him like a burr, and they was havin'
it, ground and lofty, when I hears some one run up behind me, and
turnin' quick, there was the 'Piscopalian minister, 'My! my! my!'
he hollers; 'what a awful spectacle!  Aint there no way of stoppin'
it?'  ' No, sir,' says I, and I told him how I didn't want to stop
it, and the reason why.  Then says he, 'Where's your master?' and I
told him how you was away.  'Isn't there any man at all about?'
says he.  'No,' says I.  'Then,' says he, 'if there's nobody else
to stop it, I must do it myself.'  An' he took off his coat.  'No,'
says I, 'you keep back, sir.  If there's anybody to plunge into
that erena, the blood be mine;' an' I put my hand, without
thinkin', ag'in his black shirt-bosom, to hold him back; but he
didn't notice, bein' so excited.  'Now,' says I, 'jist wait one
minute, and you'll see that bull's tail go between his legs.  He's
weakenin'.'  An' sure enough, Lord Edward got a good grab at him,
and was a-shakin' the very life out of him, when I run up and took
Lord Edward by the collar.  'Drop it!' says I, and he dropped it,
for he know'd he'd whipped, and he was pretty tired hisself.  Then
the bull-dog, he trotted off with his tail a-hangin' down.  'Now,
then,' says I, 'them dogs will be bosom friends forever after
this.'  'Ah me!' says he, 'I'm sorry indeed that your employer, for
who I've always had a great respect, should allow you to get into
such habits.'  That made me feel real bad, and I told him, mighty
quick, that you was the last man in the world to let me do anything
like that, and that, if you'd 'a' been here, you'd 'a' separated
them dogs, if they'd a-chawed your arms off; that you was very
particular about such things; and that it would be a pity if he was
to think you was a dog-fightin' gentleman, when I'd often heard you
say that, now you was fixed an' settled, the one thing you would
like most would be to be made a vestryman."

I sat up straight in my chair.

"Pomona!" I exclaimed, "you didn't tell him that?"

"That's what I said, sir, for I wanted him to know what you really
was; an' he says, 'Well, well, I never knew that.  It might be a
very good thing.  I'll speak to some of the members about it.
There's two vacancies now in our vestry."

I was crushed; but Euphemia tried to put the matter into the
brightest light.

"Perhaps it may all turn out for the best," she said, "and you may
be elected, and that would be splendid.  But it would be an awfully
funny thing for a dog-fight to make you a vestry-man."

I could not talk on this subject.  "Go on, Pomona," I said, trying
to feel resigned to my shame, "and tell us about that poster on the
fence."

"I'll be to that almost right away," she said.  "It was two or
three days after the dog-fight that I was down at the barn, and
happenin' to look over to Old John's, I saw that tree-man there.
He was a-showin' his book to John, and him and his wife and all the
young ones was a-standin' there, drinkin' down them big peaches and
pears as if they was all real.  I know'd he'd come here ag'in, for
them fellers never gives you up; and I didn't know how to keep him
away, for I didn't want to let the dogs loose on a man what, after
all, didn't want to do no more harm than to talk the life out of
you.  So I just happened to notice, as I came to the house, how
kind of desolate everything looked, and I thought perhaps I might
make it look worse, and he wouldn't care to deal here.  So I
thought of puttin' up a poster like that, for nobody whose place
was a-goin' to be sold for taxes would be likely to want trees.  So
I run in the house, and wrote it quick and put it up.  And sure
enough, the man he come along soon, and when he looked at that
paper, and tried the gate, an' looked over the fence an' saw the
house all shut up an' not a livin' soul about,--for I had both the
dogs in the house with me,--he shook his head an' walked off, as
much as to say, 'If that man had fixed his place up proper with my
trees, he wouldn't 'a' come to this!'  An' then, as I found the
poster worked so good, I thought it might keep other people from
comin' a-botherin' around, and so I left it up; but I was a-goin'
to be sure and take it down before you came."

As it was now pretty late in the afternoon, I proposed that Pomona
should postpone the rest of her narrative until evening.  She said
that there was nothing else to tell that was very particular; and I
did not feel as if I could stand anything more just now, even if it
was very particular.

When we were alone, I said to Euphemia:

"If we ever have to go away from this place again--"

"But we wont go away," she interrupted, looking up to me with as
bright a face as she ever had, "at least not for a long, long, long
time to come.  And I'm so glad you're to be a vestryman."



CHAPTER XIV.

POMONA TAKES A BRIDAL TRIP.


Our life at Rudder Grange seemed to be in no way materially changed
by my becoming a vestryman.  The cow gave about as much milk as
before, and the hens laid the usual number of eggs.  Euphemia went
to church with a little more of an air, perhaps, but as the wardens
were never absent, and I was never, therefore, called upon to
assist in taking up the collection, her sense of my position was
not inordinately manifested.

For a year or two, indeed, there was no radical change in anything
about Rudder Grange, except in Pomona.  In her there was a change.
She grew up.

She performed this feat quite suddenly.  She was a young girl when
she first came to us, and we had never considered her as anything
else, when one evening she had a young man to see her.  Then we
knew she had grown up.

We made no objections to her visitors,--she had several, from time
to time,--"for," said Euphemia, "suppose my parents had objected to
your visits."  I could not consider the mere possibility of
anything like this, and we gave Pomona all the ordinary
opportunities for entertaining her visitors.  To tell the truth, I
think we gave her more than the ordinary opportunities.  I know
that Euphemia would wait on herself to almost any extent, rather
than call upon Pomona, when the latter was entertaining an evening
visitor in the kitchen or on the back porch.

"Suppose my mother," she once remarked, in answer to a mild
remonstrance from me in regard to a circumstance of this nature,--
"suppose my mother had rushed into our presence when we were
plighting our vows, and had told me to go down into the cellar and
crack ice!"

It was of no use to talk to Euphemia on such subjects; she always
had an answer ready.

"You don't want Pomona to go off and be married, do you?" I asked,
one day as she was putting up some new muslin curtains in the
kitchen.  "You seem to be helping her to do this all you can, and
yet I don't know where on earth you will get another girl who will
suit you so well."

"I don't know, either," replied Euphemia, with a tack in her mouth,
and I'm sure I don't want her to go.  But neither do I want winter
to come, or to have to wear spectacles; but I suppose both of these
things will happen, whether I like it or not."

For some time after this Pomona had very little company, and we
began to think that there was no danger of any present matrimonial
engagement on her part,--a thought which was very gratifying to us,
although we did not wish in any way to interfere with her
prospects,--when, one afternoon, she quietly went up into the
village and was married.

Her husband was a tall young fellow, a son of a farmer in the
county, who had occasionally been to see her, but whom she must
have frequently met on her "afternoons out."

When Pomona came home and told us this news we were certainly well
surprised.

"What on earth are we to do for a girl?" cried Euphemia.

"You're to have me till you can get another one," said Pomona
quietly.  "I hope you don't think I'd go 'way, and leave you
without anybody."

"But a wife ought to go to her husband," said Euphemia, "especially
so recent a bride.  Why didn't you let me know all about it?  I
would have helped to fit you out.  We would have given you the
nicest kind of a little wedding."

"I know that," said Pomona; "you're jus' good enough.  But I didn't
want to put you to all that trouble--right in preserving-time too.
An' he wanted it quiet, for he's awful backward about shows.  An'
as I'm to go to live with his folks,--at least in a little house on
the farm,--I might as well stay here as anywhere, even if I didn't
want to, for I can't go there till after frost."

"Why not?" I asked.

"The chills and fever," said she.  "They have it awful down in that
valley.  Why, he had a chill while we was bein' married, right at
the bridal altar."

"You don't say so!" exclaimed Euphemia.  "How dreadful!"

"Yes, indeed," said Pomona.  "He must 'a' forgot it was his chill-
day, and he didn't take his quinine, and so it come on him jus' as
he was apromisin' to love an' pertect.  But he stuck it out, at the
minister's house, and walked home by his-self to finish his chill."

"And you didn't go with him?" cried Euphemia, indignantly.

"He said, no.  It was better thus.  He felt it weren't the right
thing to mingle the agur with his marriage vows.  He promised to
take sixteen grains to-morrow, and so I came away.  He'll be all
right in a month or so, an' then we'll go an' keep house.  You see
it aint likely I could help him any by goin' there an' gettin' it
myself."

"Pomona," said Euphemia, "this is dreadful.  You ought to go and
take a bridal tour and get him rid of those fearful chills."

"I never thought of that," said Pomona, her face lighting up
wonderfully.

Now that Euphemia had fallen upon this happy idea, she never
dropped it until she had made all the necessary plans, and had put
them into execution.  In the course of a week she had engaged
another servant, and had started Pomona and her husband off on a
bridal-tour, stipulating nothing but that they should take plenty
of quinine in their trunk.

It was about three weeks after this, and Euphemia and I were
sitting on our front steps,--I had come home early, and we had been
potting some of the tenderest plants,--when Pomona walked in at the
gate.  She looked well, and had on a very bright new dress.
Euphemia noticed this the moment she came in.  We welcomed her
warmly, for we felt a great interest in this girl, who had grown up
in our family and under our care.

"Have you had your bridal trip?" asked Euphemia.

"Oh yes!" said Pomona.  "It's all over an' done with, an' we're
settled in our house."

"Well, sit right down here on the steps and tell us all about it,"
said Euphemia, in a glow of delightful expectancy, and Pomona,
nothing loth, sat down and told her tale.

"You see," said she, untying her bonnet strings, to give an easier
movement to her chin, "we didn't say where we was goin' when we
started out, for the truth was we didn't know.  We couldn't afford
to take no big trip, and yet we wanted to do the thing up jus' as
right as we could, seein' as you had set your heart on it, an' as
we had, too, for that matter.  Niagery Fall was what I wanted, but
he said that it cost so much to see the sights there that he hadn't
money to spare to take us there an' pay for all the sight-seein',
too.  We might go, he said, without seein' the sights, or, if there
was any way of seein' the sights without goin', that might do, but
he couldn't do both.  So we give that up, and after thinkin' a good
deal, we agreed to go to some other falls, which might come
cheaper, an' may-be be jus' as good to begin on.  So we thought of
Passaic Falls, up to Paterson, an' we went there, an' took a room
at a little hotel, an' walked over to the falls.  But they wasn't
no good, after all, for there wasn't no water runnin' over em.
There was rocks and precipicers, an' direful depths, and everything
for a good falls, except water, and that was all bein' used at the
mills.  'Well, Miguel,' says I, 'this is about as nice a place for
a falls as ever I see,' but--"

"Miguel!" cried Euphemia.  "Is that your husband's name?"

"Well, no," said Pomona, "it isn't.  His given name is Jonas, but I
hated to call him Jonas, an' on a bridal trip, too.  He might jus'
as well have had a more romantic-er name, if his parents had 'a'
thought of it.  So I determined I'd give him a better one, while we
was on our journey, anyhow, an' I changed his name to Miguel, which
was the name of a Spanish count.  He wanted me to call him Jiguel,
because, he said, that would have a kind of a floating smell of his
old name, but I didn't never do it.  Well, neither of us didn't
care to stay about no dry falls, so we went back to the hotel and
got our supper, and begun to wonder what we should do next day.  He
said we'd better put it off and dream about it, and make up our
minds nex' mornin', which I agreed to, an', that evenin', as we was
sittin' in our room I asked Miguel to tell me the story of his
life.  He said, at first, it hadn't none, but when I seemed a
kinder put out at this, he told me I mustn't mind, an' he would
reveal the whole.  So he told me this story:

"'My grandfather,' said he, 'was a rich and powerful Portugee, a-
livin' on the island of Jamaica.  He had heaps o' slaves, an' owned
a black brigantine, that he sailed in on secret voyages, an', when
he come back, the decks an' the gunnels was often bloody, but
nobody knew why or wherefore.  He was a big man with black hair an'
very violent.  He could never have kept no help, if he hadn't owned
'em, but he was so rich, that people respected him, in spite of all
his crimes.  My grandmother was a native o' the Isle o' Wight.  She
was a frail an' tender woman, with yeller hair, and deep blue eyes,
an' gentle, an' soft, an' good to the poor.  She used to take
baskits of vittles aroun' to sick folks, an' set down on the side
o' their beds an' read "The Shepherd o' Salisbury Plains" to 'em.
She hardly ever speaked above her breath, an' always wore white
gowns with a silk kerchief a-folded placidly aroun' her neck.'
'Them was awful different kind o' people,' I says to him, 'I wonder
how they ever come to be married.'  'They never was married,' says
he.  'Never married!' I hollers, a-jumpin' up from my chair, 'and
you sit there carmly an' look me in the eye.'  'Yes,' says he,
'they was never married.  They never met; one was my mother's
father, and the other one my father's mother.  'Twas well they did
not wed.'  'I should think so,' said I, 'an' now, what's the good
of tellin' me a thing like that?'

"'It's about as near the mark as most of the stories of people's
lives, I reckon,' says he, 'an' besides I'd only jus' begun it.'

"'Well, I don't want no more,' says I, an' I jus' tell this story
of his to show what kind of stories he told about that time.  He
said they was pleasant fictions, but I told him that if he didn't
look out he'd hear 'em called by a good deal of a worse kind of a
name than that.  The nex' mornin' he asked me what was my dream,
an' I told him I didn't have exactly no dream about it, but my idea
was to have somethin' real romantic for the rest of our bridal
days.

"'Well,' says he, 'what would you like?  I had a dream, but it
wasn't no ways romantic, and I'll jus' fall in with whatever you'd
like best.'

"'All right,' says I, 'an' the most romantic-est thing that I can
think of is for us to make-believe for the rest of this trip.  We
can make-believe we're anything we please, an' if we think so in
real earnest it will be pretty much the same thing as if we really
was.  We aint likely to have no chance ag'in of being jus' what
we've a mind to, an' so let's try it now.'

"'What would you have a mind to be?' says he.

"'Well,' says I, 'let's be an earl an' a earl-ess.'

"'Earl-ess'?  says he, 'there's no such a person.'

"'Why, yes there is, of course,' I says to him.  'What's a she-earl
if she isn't a earl-ess?'

"'Well, I don't know,' says he, 'never havin' lived with any of
'em, but we'll let it go at that.  An' how do you want to work the
thing out?'

"'This way,' says I.  'You, Miguel--'

"'Jiguel,' says he.

"'The earl,' says I, not mindin' his interruption, 'an' me, your
noble earl-ess, will go to some good place or other--it don't
matter much jus' where, and whatever house we live in we'll call
our castle an' we'll consider it's got draw-bridges an'
portcullises an' moats an' secrit dungeons, an' we'll remember our
noble ancesters, an' behave accordin'.  An' the people we meet we
can make into counts and dukes and princes, without their knowin'
anything about it; an' we can think our clothes is silk an' satin
an' velwet, all covered with dimuns an' precious stones, jus' as
well as not.'

"'Jus' as well,' says he.

"'An' then,' I went on, 'we can go an' have chi-VAL-rous
adventures,--or make believe we're havin' 'em,--an' build up a
atmosphere of romanticness aroun' us that'll carry us back--'

"'To ole Virginny,' says he.

"'No,' says I, 'for thousands of years, or at least enough back for
the times of tournaments and chi-VAL-ry.'

"'An' so your idea is that we make believe all these things, an'
don't pay for none of 'em, is it?' says he.

"'Yes,' says I; 'an' you, Miguel--'

"'Jiguel,' says he.

"'Can ask me, if you don't know what chi-VAL-ric or romantic thing
you ought to do or to say so as to feel yourself truly an' reely a
earl, for I've read a lot about these people, an' know jus' what
ought to be did.'

"Well, he set himself down an' thought a while, an' then he says,
'All right.  We'll do that, an' we'll begin to-morrow mornin', for
I've got a little business to do in the city which wouldn't be
exactly the right thing for me to stoop to after I'm a earl, so
I'll go in an' do it while I'm a common person, an' come back this
afternoon, an you can walk about an' look at the dry falls, an'
amuse yourself gen'rally, till I come back.'

"'All right,' says I, an' off he goes.

"He come back afore dark, an' the nex' mornin' we got ready to
start off.

"'Have you any particular place to go?' says he.

"'No,' says I, 'one place is as likely to be as good as another for
our style o' thing.  If it don't suit, we can imagine it does.'

"'That'll do,' says he, an' we had our trunk sent to the station,
and walked ourselves.  When we got there, he says to me,

"Which number will you have, five or seven?'

"'Either one will suit me, Earl Miguel,' says I.

"'Jiguel,' says he, 'an' we'll make it seven.  An' now I'll go an'
look at the time-table, an' we'll buy tickets for the seventh
station from here.  The seventh station,' says he, comin' back, 'is
Pokus.  We'll go to Pokus.'

"So when the train come we got in, an' got out at Pokus.  It was a
pretty sort of a place, out in the country, with the houses
scattered a long ways apart, like stingy chicken-feed.

"'Let's walk down this road,' says he, 'till we come to a good
house for a castle, an' then we can ask 'em to take us to board,
an' if they wont do it we'll go to the next, an' so on.'

"'All right,' says I, glad enough to see how pat he entered into
the thing.

"We walked a good ways, an' passed some little houses that neither
of us thought would do, without more imaginin' than would pay, till
we came to a pretty big house near the river, which struck our
fancy in a minute.  It was a stone house, an' it had trees aroun'
it, there was a garden with a wall, an' things seemed to suit
first-rate, so we made up our minds right off that we'd try this
place.

"'You wait here under this tree,' says he, 'an' I'll go an' ask 'em
if they'll take us to board for a while.'

"So I waits, an' he goes up to the gate, an' pretty soon he comes
out an' says, 'All right, they'll take us, an' they'll send a man
with a wheelbarrer to the station for our trunk.'  So in we goes.
The man was a country-like lookin' man, an' his wife was a very
pleasant woman.  The house wasn't furnished very fine, but we
didn't care for that, an' they gave us a big room that had rafters
instid of a ceilin', an' a big fire-place, an' that, I said, was
jus' exac'ly what we wanted.  The room was almos' like a donjon
itself, which he said he reckoned had once been a kitchin, but I
told him that a earl hadn't nothin' to do with kitchins, an' that
this was a tapestry chamber, an' I'd tell him all about the strange
figgers on the embroidered hangin's, when the shadders begun to
fall.

"It rained a little that afternoon, an' we stayed in our room, an'
hung our clothes an' things about on nails an' hooks, an' made
believe they was armor an' ancient trophies an' portraits of a long
line of ancesters.  I did most of the make-believin' but he agreed
to ev'rything.  The man who kep' the house's wife brought us our
supper about dark, because she said she thought we might like to
have it together cozy, an' so we did, an' was glad enough of it;
an' after supper we sat before the fire-place, where we made-
believe the flames was a-roarin' an' cracklin' an' a-lightin' up
the bright places on the armor a-hangin' aroun', while the storm--
which we made-believe--was a-ragin' an' whirlin' outside.  I told
him a long story about a lord an' a lady, which was two or three
stories I had read, run together, an' we had a splendid time.  It
all seemed real real to me."



CHAPTER XV.

IN WHICH TWO NEW FRIENDS DISPORT THEMSELVES.


"The nex' mornin' was fine an' nice," continued Pomona, "an' after
our breakfast had been brought to us, we went out in the grounds to
take a walk.  There was lots of trees back of the house, with walks
among 'em, an' altogether it was so ole-timey an' castleish that I
was as happy as a lark.

"'Come along, Earl Miguel,' I says; 'let us tread a measure 'neath
these mantlin' trees.'

"'All right,' says he.  'Your Jiguel attends you.  An' what might
our noble second name be?  What is we earl an' earl-ess of?'

"'Oh, anything,' says I.  'Let's take any name at random.'

"'All right,' says he.  'Let it be random.  Earl an' Earl-ess
Random.  Come along.'

"So we walks about, I feelin' mighty noble an' springy, an' afore
long we sees another couple a-walkin' about under the trees.

"'Who's them?' says I.

"'Don't know,' says he, 'but I expect they're some o' the other
boarders.  The man said he had other boarders when I spoke to him
about takin' us.'

"'Let's make-believe they're a count an' count says I.  'Count an'
Countess of--'

"'Milwaukee,' says he.

"I didn't think much of this for a noble name, but still it would
do well enough, an' so we called 'em the Count an' Countess of
Milwaukee, an' we kep' on a meanderin'.  Pretty soon he gets tired
an' says he was agoin' back to the house to have a smoke because he
thought it was time to have a little fun which weren't all
imaginations, an' I says to him to go along, but it would be the
hardest thing in this world for me to imagine any fun in smokin'.
He laughed an' went back, while I walked on, a-makin'-believe a
page, in blue puffed breeches, was a-holdin' up my train, which was
of light-green velvet trimmed with silver lace.  Pretty soon,
turnin' a little corner, I meets the Count and Countess of
Milwaukee.  She was a small lady, dressed in black, an' he was a
big fat man about fifty years old, with a grayish beard.  They both
wore little straw hats, exac'ly alike, an' had on green carpet-
slippers.

"They stops when they sees me, an' the lady she bows and says
'good-mornin',' an' then she smiles, very pleasant, an' asks if I
was a-livin' here, an' when I said I was, she says she was too, for
the present, an' what was my name.  I had half a mind to say the
Earl-ess Random, but she was so pleasant and sociable that I didn't
like to seem to be makin' fun, an' so I said I was Mrs. De
Henderson.

"'An' I,' says she, 'am Mrs. General Andrew Jackson, widow of the
ex-President of the United States.  I am staying here on business
connected with the United States Bank.  This is my brother,' says
she, pointin' to the big man.

"'How d'ye do?' says he, a-puttin' his hands together, turnin' his
toes out an' makin' a funny little bow.  'I am General Tom Thumb,'
he says in a deep, gruff voice, 'an' I've been before all the
crown-ed heads of Europe, Asia, Africa, America an' Australia,--all
a's but one,--an' I'm waitin' here for a team of four little milk-
white oxen, no bigger than tall cats, which is to be hitched to a
little hay-wagon, which I am to ride in, with a little pitch-fork
an' real farmer's clothes, only small.  This will come to-morrow,
when I will pay for it an' ride away to exhibit.  It may be here
now, an' I will go an' see.  Good-bye.'

"'Good-bye, likewise,' says the lady.  'I hope you'll have all
you're thinkin' you're havin', an' more too, but less if you'd like
it.  Farewell.'  An' away they goes.

"Well, you may be sure, I stood there amazed enough, an' mad too
when I heard her talk about my bein' all I was a-thinkin' I was.  I
was sure my husband--scarce two weeks old, a husband--had told all.
It was too bad.  I wished I had jus' said I was the Earl-ess of
Random an' brassed it out.

"I rushed back an' foun' him smokin' a pipe on a back porch.  I
charged him with his perfidy, but he vowed so earnest that he had
not told these people of our fancies, or ever had spoke to 'em,
that I had to believe him.

"'I expec',' says he, 'that they're jus' makin'-believe--as we are.
There aint no patent on make-believes.'

"This didn't satisfy me, an' as he seemed to be so careless about
it I walked away, an' left him to his pipe.  I determined to go
take a walk along some of the country roads an' think this thing
over for myself.  I went aroun' to the front gate, where the woman
of the house was a-standin' talkin' to somebody, an' I jus' bowed
to her, for I didn't feel like sayin' anything, an' walked past
her.

"'Hello!' said she, jumpin' in front of me an' shuttin' the gate.
'You can't go out here.  If you want to walk you can walk about in
the grounds.  There's lots of shady paths.'

"'Can't go out!' says I.  'Can't go out!  What do you mean by
that?'

"'I mean jus' what I say,' said she, an' she locked the gate.

"I was so mad that I could have pushed her over an' broke the gate,
but I thought that if there was anything of that kind to do I had a
husband whose business it was to attend to it, an' so I runs aroun'
to him to tell him.  He had gone in, but I met Mrs. Jackson an' her
brother.

"'What's the matter?' said she, seein' what a hurry I was in.

"'That woman at the gate,' I said, almost chokin' as I spoke, 'wont
let me out.'

"'She wont?' said Mrs. Jackson.  'Well, that's a way she has.  Four
times the Bank of the United States has closed its doors before I
was able to get there, on account of that woman's obstinacy about
the gate.  Indeed, I have not been to the Bank at all yet, for of
course it is of no use to go after banking hours.'

"'An' I believe, too,' said her brother in his heavy voice, 'that
she has kept out my team of little oxen.  Otherwise it would be
here now.'

"I couldn't stand any more of this an' ran into our room where my
husband was.  When I told him what had happened, he was real sorry.

"'I didn't know you thought of going out,' he said, 'or I would
have told you all about it.  An' now sit down an' quiet yourself,
an' I'll tell you jus' how things is.'  So down we sits, an' says
he, jus' as carm as a summer cloud, 'My dear, this is a lunertic
asylum.  Now, don't jump,' he says; 'I didn't bring you here,
because I thought you was crazy, but because I wanted you to see
what kind of people they was who imagined themselves earls and
earl-esses, an' all that sort o' thing, an' to have an idea how the
thing worked after you'd been doing it a good while an' had got
used to it.  I thought it would be a good thing, while I was Earl
Jiguel and you was a noble earl-ess, to come to a place where
people acted that way.  I knowed you had read lots o' books about
knights and princes an' bloody towers, an' that you knowed all
about them things, but I didn't suppose you did know how them same
things looked in these days, an' a lunertic asylum was the only
place where you could see 'em.  So I went to a doctor I knowed,' he
says, 'an' got a certificate from him to this private institution,
where we could stay for a while an' get posted on romantics.'

"'Then,' says I, 'the upshot was that you wanted to teach a
lesson.'

"'Jus' that,' says he.

"'All right,' says I; 'it's teached.  An' now let's get out of this
as quick as we kin.'

"'That'll suit me,' he says, 'an' we'll leave by the noon train.
I'll go an' see about the trunk bein' sent down.'

"So off he went to see the man who kept the house, while I falls to
packin' up the trunk as fast as I could."

"Weren't you dreadfully angry at him?" asked Euphemia, who, having
a romantic streak in her own composition, did not sympathize
altogether with this heroic remedy for Pomona's disease.

"No, ma'am," said Pomona, "not long.  When I thought of Mrs.
General Jackson and Tom Thumb, I couldn't help thinkin' that I must
have looked pretty much the same to my husband, who, I knowed now,
had only been makin'-believe to make-believe.  An' besides, I
couldn't be angry very long for laughin, for when he come back in a
minute, as mad as a March hare, an' said they wouldn't let me out
nor him nuther, I fell to laughin' ready to crack my sides.

"'They say,' said he, as soon as he could speak straight, 'that we
can't go out without another certificate from the doctor.  I told
'em I'd go myself an' see him about it but they said no, I
couldn't, for if they did that way everybody who ever was sent here
would be goin' out the next day to see about leavin'.  I didn't
want to make no fuss, so I told them I'd write a letter to the
doctor and tell him to send an order that would soon show them
whether we could go out or not.  They said that would be the best
thing to do, an so I'm goin' to write it this minute,'--which he
did.

"'How long will we have to wait?' says I, when the letter was done.

"'Well,' says he, 'the doctor can't get this before to-morrow
mornin', an' even if he answers right away, we won't get our order
to go out until the next day.  So we'll jus' have to grin an' bear
it for a day an' a half.'

"'This is a lively old bridal-trip,' said I,--'dry falls an' a
lunertic asylum.'

"'We'll try to make the rest of it better,' said he.

"But the next day wasn't no better.  We staid in our room all day,
for we didn't care to meet Mrs. Jackson an' her crazy brother, an'
I'm sure we didn't want to see the mean creatures who kept the
house.  We knew well enough that they only wanted us to stay so
that they could get more board-money out of us."

"I should have broken out," cried Euphemia.  "I would never have
staid an hour in that place, after I found out what it was,
especially on a bridal trip."

"If we'd done that," said Pomona, "they'd have got men after us,
an' then everybody would have thought we was real crazy.  We made
up our minds to wait for the doctor's letter, but it wasn't much
fun.  An' I didn't tell no romantic stories to fill up the time.
We sat down an' behaved like the commonest kind o' people.  You
never saw anybody sicker of romantics than I was when I thought of
them two loons that called themselves Mrs. Andrew Jackson and
General Tom Thumb.  I dropped Miguel altogether, an' he dropped
Jiguel, which was a relief to me, an' I took strong to Jonas, even
callin' him Jone, which I consider a good deal uglier an' commoner
even than Jonas.  He didn't like this much, but said that if it
would help me out of the Miguel, he didn't care.

"Well, on the mornin' of the next day I went into the little front
room that they called the office, to see if there was a letter for
us yet, an' there wasn't nobody there to ask.  But I saw a pile of
letters under a weight on the table, an' I jus' looked at these to
see if one of 'em was for us, an' if there wasn't the very letter
Jone had written to the doctor!  They'd never sent it!  I rushes
back to Jone an' tells him, an' he jus' set an' looked at me
without sayin' a word.  I didn't wonder he couldn't speak.

"'I'll go an' let them people know what I think of 'em,' says I.

"'Don't do that,' said Jone, catchin' me by the sleeve.  'It wont
do no good.  Leave the letter there, an' don't say nothin' about
it.  We'll stay here till afternoon quite quiet, an' then we'll go
away.  That garden wall isn't high.'

"'An' how about the trunk?' says I.

"'Oh, we'll take a few things in our pockets, an' lock up the
trunk, an' ask the doctor to send for it when we get to the city.'

"'All right,' says I.  An' we went to work to get ready to leave.

"About five o'clock in the afternoon, when it was a nice time to
take a walk under the trees, we meandered quietly down to a corner
of the back wall, where Jone thought it would be rather convenient
to get over.  He hunted up a short piece of board which he leaned
up ag'in the wall, an' then he put his foot on the top of that an'
got hold of the top of the wall an' climbed up, as easy as nuthin'.
Then he reached down to help me step onto the board.  But jus' as
he was agoin' to take me by the hand: 'Hello!' says he.  'Look a-
there!'  An' I turned round an' looked, an' if there wasn't Mrs.
Andrew Jackson an' General Tom Thumb a-walkin' down the path.

"'What shall we do?' says I.

"'Come along,' says he.  'We aint a-goin' to stop for them.  Get
up, all the same.'

"I tried to get up as he said, but it wasn't so easy for me on
account of my not bein' such a high stepper as Jone, an' I was a
good while a-gettin' a good footin' on the board.

"Mrs. Jackson an' the General, they came right up to us an' set
down on a bench which was fastened between two trees near the wall.
An' there they set, a-lookin' steady at us with their four little
eyes, like four empty thimbles.

"'You appear to be goin' away,' says Mrs. Jackson.

"'Yes,' says Jone from the top of the wall.  We're a-goin' to take
a slight stroll outside, this salu-brious evenin'.'

"'Do you think,' says she, 'that the United States Bank would be
open this time of day?'

"'Oh no,' says Jone, 'the banks all close at three o'clock.  It's a
good deal after that now.'

"'But if I told the officers who I was, wouldn't that make a
difference?' says she.  'Wouldn't they go down an' open the bank?'

"'Not much,' says Jone, givin' a pull which brought me right up to
the top o' the wall an' almost clean down the other side, with one
jerk.  'I never knowed no officers that would do that.  But,' says
he, a kind o' shuttin' his eyes so that she shouldn't see he was
lyin', 'we'll talk about that when we come back.'

"'If you see that team of little oxen,' says the big man, 'send 'em
'round to the front gate.'

"'All right,' says Jone; an' he let me down the outside of the wall
as if I had been a bag o' horse-feed.

"'But if the bank isn't open you can't pay for it when it does
come,' we heard the old lady a-sayin' as we hurried off.

"We didn't lose no time agoin' down to that station, an' it's lucky
we didn't, for a train for the city was comin' jus' as we got
there, an' we jumped aboard without havin' no time to buy tickets.
There wasn't many people in our car, an we got a seat together.

"'Now then,' says Jone, as the cars went abuzzin' along, 'I feel as
if I was really on a bridal-trip, which I mus' say I didn't at that
there asylum.'

"An' then I said: 'I should think not,' an' we both bust out a-
laughin', as well we might, feelin' sich a change of surroundin's.

"'Do you think,' says somebody behind us, when we'd got through
laughin', 'that if I was to send a boy up to the cashier he would
either come down or send me the key of the bank?'

"We both turned aroun' as quick as lightnin', an' if there wasn't
them two lunertics in the seat behind us!

"It nearly took our breaths away to see them settin' there, staring
at us with their thimble eyes, an' a-wearin' their little straw
hats, both alike.

"'How on the livin' earth did you two got here?' says I, as soon as
I could speak.

"'Oh, we come by the same way you come--by the tem-per-ary stairs,'
says Mrs. Jackson.  'We thought if it was too late to draw any
money to-night, it might be well to be on hand bright an' early in
the mornin'.  An' so we follered you two, as close as we could,
because we knew you could take us right to the very bank doors, an'
we didn't know the way ourselves, not never havin' had no occasion
to attend to nothin' of this kind before.'

"Jone an' I looked at each other, but we didn't speak for a minute.

"'Then,' says I, 'here's a pretty kittle o' fish.'

"'I should kinder say so,' says Jone.  'We've got these here two
lunertics on our hands, sure enough, for there ain't no train back
to Pokus tonight, an' I wouldn't go back with 'em if there was.  We
must keep an eye on 'em till we can see the doctor to-morrow.'

"'I suppose we must,' said I, 'but this don't seem as much like a
bridal-trip as it did a while ago.'

"'You're right there,' says Jone.

"When the conductor came along we had to pay the fare of them two
lunertics, besides our own, for neither of 'em had a cent about
'em.  When we got to town we went to a smallish hotel, near the
ferry, where Jone knowed the man who kep' it, who wouldn't bother
about none of us havin' a scrap of baggage, knowin' he'd get his
money all the same, out of either Jone or his father.  The General
an' his sister looked a kind o' funny in their little straw hats
an' green carpet-slippers, an' the clerk didn't know whether he
hadn't forgot how to read writin' when the big man put down the
names of General Tom Thumb and Mrs. ex-President Andrew Jackson,
which he wasn't ex-President anyway, bein' dead; but Jone he
whispered they was travelin' under nommys dess plummys (I told him
to say that), an' he would fix it all right in the mornin'.  An'
then we got some supper, which it took them two lunertics a long
time to eat, for they was all the time forgettin' what particular
kind o' business they was about, an' then we was showed to our
rooms.  They had two rooms right across the hall from ours.  We
hadn't been inside our room five minutes before Mrs. General
Jackson come a-knockin' at the door.

"'Look a-here,' she says to me, 'there's a unforeseen contingency
in my room.  An' it smells.'

"So I went right in, an' sure enough it did smell, for she had
turned on all the gases, besides the one that was lighted.

"'What did you do that for?' says I, a-turnin' them off as fast as
I could.

"'I'd like to know what they're made for,' says she, 'if they isn't
to be turned on.'

"When I told Jone about this he looked real serious, an' jus' then
a waiter came upstairs an' went into the big man's room.  In a
minute he come out an' says to Jone an' me, a-grinnin':

"'We can't suit him no better in this house.'

"'What does he want?' asks Jone.

"'Why, he wants a smaller bed,' says the waiter.  'He says he can't
sleep in a bed as big as that, an' we haven't none smaller in this
house, which he couldn't get into if we had, in my opinion,' says
he.

"'All right,' says Jone.  'Jus' you go downstairs, an' I'll fix
him.'  So the man goes off, still a-grinnin'.  'I tell you what it
is,' says Jone, 'it wont do to let them two lunertics have rooms to
themselves.  They'll set this house afire or turn it upside down in
the middle of the night, if they has.  There's nuthin' to be done
but for you to sleep with the woman an' for me to sleep with the
man, an' to keep 'em from cuttin' up till mornin'.'

"So Jone he went into the room where General Tom Thumb was a-
settin' with his hat on, a-lookin' doleful at the bed, an' says he:

"'What's the matter with the bed?'

"'Oh, it's too large entirely,' says the General.  'It wouldn't do
for me to sleep in a bed like that.  It would ruin my character as
a genuine Thumb.'

"'Well,' says Jone, 'it's nearly two times too big for you, but if
you an' me was both to sleep in it, it would be about right,
wouldn't it?'

"'Oh yes,' says the General.  An' he takes off his hat, an' Jone
says good-night to me an' shuts the door.  Our room was better than
Mrs. General Jackson's, so I takes her in there, an' the fust thing
she does is to turn on all the gases.

"'Stop that!' I hollers.  'If you do that again,--I'll--I'll break
the United States Bank tomorrow!'

"'How'll you do that?' says she.

"'I'll draw out all my capital,' says I.

"'I hope really you wont,' says she, 'till I've been there,' an'
she leans out of the open winder to look into the street, but while
she was a-lookin' out I see her left hand a-creepin' up to the gas
by the winder, that wasn't lighted.  I felt mad enough to take her
by the feet an' pitch her out, as you an the boarder," said Pomona,
turning to me, "h'isted me out of the canal-boat winder."

This, by the way, was the first intimation we had had that Pomona
knew how she came to fall out of that window.

"But I didn't do it," she continued, "for there wasn't no soft
water underneath for her to fall into.  After we went to bed I kep'
awake for a long time, bein' afraid she'd get up in the night an'
turn on all the gases and smother me alive.  But I fell asleep at
last, an' when I woke up, early in the mornin', the first thing I
did was to feel for that lunertic.  But she was gone!"



CHAPTER XVI.

IN WHICH AN OLD FRIEND APPEARS AND THE BRIDAL TRIP TAKES A FRESH
START.


"Gone?" cried Euphemia, who, with myself, had been listening most
intently to Pomona's story.

"Yes," continued Pomona, "she was gone.  I give one jump out of bed
and felt the gases, but they was all right.  But she was gone, an'
her clothes was gone.  I dressed, as pale as death, I do expect,
an' hurried to Jone's room, an' he an' me an' the big man was all
ready in no time to go an' look for her.  General Tom Thumb didn't
seem very anxious, but we made him hurry up an' come along with us.
We couldn't afford to leave him nowheres.  The clerk down-stairs--a
different one from the chap who was there the night before--said
that a middle-aged, elderly lady came down about an hour before an'
asked him to tell her the way to the United States Bank, an' when
he told her he didn't know of any such bank, she jus' stared at
him, an' wanted to know what he was put there for.  So he didn't
have no more to say to her, an' she went out, an' he didn't take no
notice which way she went.  We had the same opinion about him that
Mrs. Jackson had, but we didn't stop to tell him so.  We hunted up
an' down the streets for an hour or more; we asked every policeman
we met if he'd seen her; we went to a police station; we did
everything we could think of, but no Mrs. Jackson turned up.  Then
we was so tired an' hungry that we went into some place or other
an' got our breakfast.  When we started out ag'in, we kep' on up
one street an' down another, an' askin' everybody who looked as if
they had two grains of sense,--which most of 'em didn't look as if
they had mor'n one, an' that was in use to get 'em to where they
was goin.'  At last, a little ways down a small street, we seed a
crowd, an' the minute we see it Jone an' me both said in our inside
hearts: 'There she is!'  An' sure enough, when we got there, who
should we see, with a ring of street-loafers an' boys around her,
but Mrs. Andrew Jackson, with her little straw hat an' her green
carpet-slippers, a-dancin' some kind of a skippin' fandango, an' a-
holdin' out her skirts with the tips of her fingers.  I was jus'
agoin' to rush in an' grab her when a man walks quick into the ring
and touches her on the shoulder.  The minute I seed him I knowed
him.  It was our old boarder!"

"It was?" exclaimed Euphemia.

"Yes it was truly him, an' I didn't want him to see me there in
such company, an' he most likely knowin' I was on my bridal-trip,
an' so I made a dive at my bonnet to see if I had a vail on; an'
findin' one, I hauled it down.

"'Madam,' says the boarder, very respectful, to Mrs. Jackson,
'where do you live?  Can't I take you home?'  'No, sir,' says she,
'at least not now.  If you have a carriage, you may come for me
after a while.  I am waiting for the Bank of the United States to
open, an' until which time I must support myself on the light
fantastic toe,' an' then she tuk up her skirts, an' begun to dance
ag'in.  But she didn't make mor'n two skips before I rushed in, an'
takin' her by the arm hauled her out o' the ring.  An' then up
comes the big man with his face as red as fire.  'Look' here!' says
he to her, as if he was ready to eat her up.  'Did you draw every
cent of that money?'  'Not yet, not yet,' says she.  'You did, you
purse-proud cantalope,' says he.  'You know very well you did, an'
now I'd like to know where my ox-money is to come from.'  But Jone
an' me didn't intend to wait for no sich talk as this, an' he tuk
the man by the arm, and I tuk the old woman, an' we jus' walked 'em
off.  The boarder he told the loafers to get out an' go home, an'
none of 'em follered us, for they know'd if they did he'd a batted
'em over the head.  But he comes up alongside o' me, as I was a'
walkin' behind with Mrs. Jackson, an' says he: 'How d'ye do,
Pomona?'  I must say I felt as if I could slip in between two
flagstones, but as I couldn't get away, I said I was pretty well.
'I heared you was on your bridal trip,' says he ag'in; 'is this
it?'  It was jus' like him to know that, an' as there was no help
for it, I said it was.  'Is that your husband?' says he, pointin'
to Jone.  'Yes,' says I.  'It was very good in him to come along,'
says he.  'Is these two your groomsman and bridesmaid?'  'No sir,'
says I.  'They're crazy.'  'No wonder,' says he.  'It's enough to
drive 'em so, to see you two,' an' then he went ahead an' shook
hands with Jone, an' told him he'd know'd me a long time; but he
didn't say nuthin' about havin' histed me out of a winder, for
which I was obliged to him.  An' then he come back to me an' says
he, 'Good-mornin', I must go to the office.  I hope you'll have a
good time for the rest of your trip.  If you happen to run short o'
lunertics, jus' let me know, and I'll furnish you with another
pair.'  'All right,' says I; 'but you mustn't bring your little
girl along.'

"He kinder laughed at this, as we walked away, an' then he turned
around an' come back, and says he, 'Have you been to any the-ay-
ters, or anything, since you've been in town?'  'No,' says I, 'not
one.'  'Well,' says he, 'you ought to go.  Which do you like best,
the the-ay-ter, the cir-cus, or wild-beasts?'  I did really like
the the-ay-ter best, havin' thought of bein' a play-actor, as you
know, but I considered I'd better let that kind o' thing slide jus'
now, as bein' a little too romantic, right after the 'sylum, an' so
I says, 'I've been once to a circus, an' once to a wild-beast
garden, an' I like 'em both.  I hardly know which I like best--the
roarin' beasts, a-prancin' about in their cages, with the smell of
blood an' hay, an' the towerin' elephants; or the horses, an' the
music, an' the gauzy figgers at the circus, an' the splendid
knights in armor an' flashin' pennants, all on fiery steeds, a-
plungin' ag'in the sides of the ring, with their flags a-flyin' in
the grand entry,' says I, real excited with what I remembered about
these shows.

"'Well,' says he, 'I don't wonder at your feelin's.  An' now,
here's two tickets for to-night, which you an' your husband can
have, if you like, for I can't go.  They're to a meetin' of the
Hudson County Enter-mo-logical Society, over to Hoboken, at eight
o'clock.'

"'Over to Hoboken!' says I; 'that's a long way.'

"'Oh no, it isn't,' says he.  'An' it wont cost you a cent, but the
ferry.  They couldn't have them shows in the city, for, if the
creatures was to get loose, there's no knowin' what might happen.
So take 'em, an' have as much fun as you can for the rest of your
trip.  Good-bye!'  An' off he went.

"Well, we kep' straight on to the doctor's, an' glad we was when we
got there, an' mad he was when we lef' Mrs. Jackson an' the General
on his hands, for we wouldn't have no more to do with 'em, an' he
couldn't help undertaking' to see that they got back to the asylum.
I thought at first he wouldn't lift a finger to get us our trunk;
but he cooled down after a bit, an' said he hoped we'd try some
different kind of institution for the rest of our trip, which we
said we thought we would.

"That afternoon we gawked around, a-lookin' at all the outside
shows, for Jone said he'd have to be pretty careful of his money
now, an' he was glad when I told him I had two free tickets in my
pocket for a show in the evenin.'

"As we was a-walkin' down to the ferry, after supper, says he:

"'Suppose you let me have a look at them tickets.'

"So I hands 'em to him.  He reads one of 'em, and then he reads the
other, which he needn't 'a' done, for they was both alike, an' then
he turns to me, an' says he:

"'What kind of a man is your boarder-as-was?'

"It wasn't the easiest thing in the world to say jus' what he was,
but I give Jone the idea, in a general sort of way, that he was
pretty lively.

"'So I should think,' says he.  'He's been tryin' a trick on us,
and sendin' us to the wrong place.  It's rather late in the season
for a show of the kind, but the place we ought to go to is a
potato-field.'

"'What on earth are you talkin' about?' says I, dumbfoundered.

"'Well,' says he, 'it's a trick he's been playin'.  He thought a
bridal trip like ours ought to have some sort of a outlandish wind-
up, an' so he sent us to this place, which is a meetin' of chaps
who are agoin' to talk about insec's,--principally potato-bugs, I
expec'--an' anything stupider than that, I s'pose your boarder-as-
was couldn't think of, without havin' a good deal o' time to
consider.'

"'It's jus' like him,' says I.  'Let's turn round and go back,'
which we did, prompt.

"We gave the tickets to a little boy who was sellin' papers, but I
don't believe he went.

"'Now then,' says Jone, after he'd been thinkin' awhile, 'there'll
be no more foolin' on this trip.  I've blocked out the whole of the
rest of it, an' we'll wind up a sight better than that boarder-as-
was has any idea of.  To-morrow we'll go to father's an' if the old
gentleman has got any money on the crops, which I expec' he has, by
this time, I'll take up a part o' my share, an' we'll have a trip
to Washington, an' see the President, an' Congress, an' the White
House, an' the lamp always a-burnin' before the Supreme Court, an'--'

"'Don't say no more, says I, 'it's splendid!'

"So, early the nex' day, we goes off jus' as fast as trains would
take us to his father's, an' we hadn't been there mor'n ten
minutes, before Jone found out he had been summoned on a jury.

"'When must you go?' says I, when he come, lookin' a kind o' pale,
to tell me this.

"'Right off,' says he.  'The court meets this mornin'.  If I don't
hurry up, I'll have some of 'em after me.  But I wouldn't cry about
it.  I don't believe the case'll last more'n a day.'

"The old man harnessed up an' took Jone to the court-house, an' I
went too, for I might as well keep up the idea of a bridal-trip as
not.  I went up into the gallery, and Jone, he was set among the
other men in the jury-box.

"The case was about a man named Brown, who married the half-sister
of a man named Adams, who afterward married Brown's mother, and
sold Brown a house he had got from Brown's grandfather, in trade
for half a grist-mill, which the other half of was owned by Adams's
half-sister's first husband, who left all his property to a soup
society, in trust, till his son should come of age, which he never
did, but left a will which give his half of the mill to Brown, and
the suit was between Brown and Adams and Brown again, and Adams's
half-sister, who was divorced from Brown, and a man named Ramsey,
who had put up a new over-shot wheel to the grist-mill."

"Oh my!" exclaimed Euphemia.  "How could you remember all that?"

"I heard it so often, I couldn't help remembering it," replied
Pomona.  And she went on with her narrative.

"That case wasn't a easy one to understand, as you may see for
yourselves, and it didn't get finished that day.  They argyed over
it a full week.  When there wasn't no more witnesses to carve up,
one lawyer made a speech, an' he set that crooked case so straight,
that you could see through it from the over-shot wheel clean back
to Brown's grandfather.  Then another feller made a speech, and he
set the whole thing up another way.  It was jus' as clear, to look
through, but it was another case altogether, no more like the other
one than a apple-pie is like a mug o' cider.  An' then they both
took it up, an' they swung it around between them, till it was all
twisted an' knotted an' wound up, an' tangled, worse than a skein
o' yarn in a nest o' kittens, an' then they give it to the jury.

"Well, when them jurymen went out, there wasn't none of 'em, as
Jone tole me afterward, as knew whether is was Brown or Adams as
was dead, or whether the mill was to grind soup, or to be run by
soup-power.  Of course they couldn't agree; three of 'em wanted to
give a verdict for the boy that died, two of 'em was for Brown's
grandfather, an' the rest was scattered, some goin' in for damages
to the witnesses, who ought to get somethin' for havin' their char-
ac-ters ruined.  Jone he jus' held back, ready to jine the other
eleven as soon as they'd agree.  But they couldn't do it, an' they
was locked up three days and four nights.  You'd better believe I
got pretty wild about it, but I come to court every day an' waited
an' waited, bringin' somethin' to eat in a baskit.

"One day, at dinner-time, I seed the judge astandin' at the court-
room door, a-wipin' his forrid with a handkerchief, an' I went up
to him an' said, 'Do you think, sir, they'll get through this thing
soon?'

"'I can't say, indeed,' said he.  'Are you interested in the case?'

"'I should think I was,' said I, an' then I told him about Jone's
bein' a juryman, an' how we was on our bridal-trip.

"'You've got my sympathy, madam,' says he, 'but it's a difficult
case to decide, an' I don't wonder it takes a good while.'

"'Nor I nuther,' says I, 'an' my opinion about these things is,
that if you'd jus' have them lawyers shut up in another room, an'
make 'em do their talkin' to theirselves, the jury could keep their
minds clear, and settle the cases in no time.'

"'There's some sense in that, madam,' says he, an' then he went
into court ag'in.

"Jone never had no chance to jine in with the other fellers, for
they couldn't agree, an' they were all discharged, at last.  So the
whole thing went for nuthin.

"When Jone come out, he looked like he'd been drawn through a pump-
log, an' he says to me, tired-like,

"'Has there been a frost?'

"'Yes,' says I, 'two of 'em.'

"'All right, then,' says he.  'I've had enough of bridal-trips,
with their dry falls, their lunatic asylums, and their jury-boxes.
Let's go home and settle down.  We needn't be afraid, now that
there's been a frost.'"

"Oh, why will you live in such a dreadful place?" cried Euphemia.
"You ought to go somewhere where you needn't be afraid of chills."

"That's jus' what I thought, ma'am," returned Pomona.  "But Jone
an' me got a disease-map of this country an' we looked all over it
careful, an' wherever there wasn't chills there was somethin' that
seemed a good deal wuss to us.  An' says Jone, 'If I'm to have
anything the matter with me, give me somethin' I'm used to.  It
don't do for a man o' my time o' life to go changin' his
diseases.'"

"So home we went.  An' there we is now.  An' as this is the end of
the bridal-trip story, I'll go an' take a look at the cow an' the
chickens an' the horse, if you don't mind."

Which we didn't,--and we gladly went with her over the estate.



CHAPTER XVII.

IN WHICH WE TAKE A VACATION AND LOOK FOR DAVID DUTTON.


It was about noon of a very fair July day, in the next summer, when
Euphemia and myself arrived at the little town where we were to
take the stage up into the mountains.  We were off for a two weeks'
vacation and our minds were a good deal easier than when we went
away before, and left Pomona at the helm.  We had enlarged the
boundaries of Rudder Grange, having purchased the house, with
enough adjoining land to make quite a respectable farm.  Of course
I could not attend to the manifold duties on such a place, and my
wife seldom had a happier thought than when she proposed that we
should invite Pomona and her husband to come and live with us.
Pomona was delighted, and Jonas was quite willing to run our farm.
So arrangements were made, and the young couple were established in
apartments in our back building, and went to work as if taking care
of us and our possessions was the ultimate object of their lives.
Jonas was such a steady fellow that we feared no trouble from tree-
man or lightning rodder during this absence.

Our destination was a country tavern on the stage-road, not far
from the point where the road crosses the ridge of the mountain-
range, and about sixteen miles from the town.  We had heard of this
tavern from a friend of ours, who had spent a summer there.  The
surrounding country was lovely, and the house was kept by a farmer,
who was a good soul, and tried to make his guests happy.  These
were generally passing farmers and wagoners, or stage-passengers,
stopping for a meal, but occasionally a person from the cities,
like our friend, came to spend a few weeks in the mountains.

So hither we came, for an out-of-the-world spot like this was just
what we wanted.  When I took our places at the stage-office, I
inquired for David Dutton, the farmer tavern-keeper before
mentioned, but the agent did not know of him.

"However," said he, "the driver knows everybody on the road, and
he'll set you down at the house."

So, off we started, having paid for our tickets on the basis that
we were to ride about sixteen miles.  We had seats on top, and the
trip, although slow,--for the road wound uphill steadily,--was a
delightful one.  Our way lay, for the greater part of the time,
through the woods, but now and then we came to a farm, and a turn
in the road often gave us lovely views of the foot-hills and the
valleys behind us.

But the driver did not know where Dutton's tavern was.  This we
found out after we had started.  Some persons might have thought it
wiser to settle this matter before starting, but I am not at all
sure that it would have been so.  We were going to this tavern, and
did not wish to go anywhere else.  If people did not know where it
was, it would be well for us to go and look for it.  We knew the
road that it was on, and the locality in which it was to be found.

Still, it was somewhat strange that a stage-driver, passing along
the road every week-day,--one day one way, and the next the other
way,--should not know a public-house like Dutton's.

"If I remember rightly," I said, "the stage used to stop there for
the passengers to take supper."

"Well, then, it aint on this side o' the ridge," said the driver;
"we stop for supper, about a quarter of a mile on the other side,
at Pete Lowry's.  Perhaps Dutton used to keep that place.  Was it
called the 'Ridge House'?"

I did not remember the name of the house, but I knew very well that
it was not on the other side of the ridge.

"Then," said the driver, "I'm sure I don't know where it is.  But
I've only been on the road about a year, and your man may 'a' moved
away afore I come.  But there aint no tavern this side the ridge,
arter ye leave Delhi, and, that's nowhere's nigh the ridge."

There were a couple of farmers who were sitting by the driver, and
who had listened with considerable interest to this conversation.
Presently, one of them turned around to me and said:

"Is it Dave Dutton ye're askin' about?"

"Yes," I replied, "that's his name."

"Well, I think he's dead," said he.

At this, I began to feel uneasy, and I could see that my wife
shared my trouble.

Then the other farmer spoke up.

"I don't believe he's dead, Hiram," said he to his companion "I
heered of him this spring.  He's got a sheep-farm on the other side
o' the mountain, and he's a livin' there.  That's what I heered, at
any rate.  But he don't live on this road any more," he continued,
turning to us.  "He used to keep tavern on this road, and the
stages did used to stop fur supper--or else dinner, I don't jist
ree-collect which.  But he don't keep tavern on this road no more."

"Of course not," said his companion, "if he's a livin' over the
mountain.  But I b'lieve he's dead."

I asked the other farmer if he knew how long it had been since
Dutton had left this part of the country.

"I don't know fur certain," he said, "but I know he was keeping
tavern here two year' ago, this fall, fur I came along here,
myself, and stopped there to git supper--or dinner, I don't jist
ree-collect which."

It had been three years since our friend had boarded at Dutton's
house.  There was no doubt that the man was not living at his old
place now.  My wife and I now agreed that it was very foolish in us
to come so far without making more particular inquiries.  But we
had had an idea that a man who had a place like Dutton's tavern
would live there always.

"What are ye goin' to do?" asked the driver, very much interested,
for it was not every day that he had passengers who had lost their
destination.  "Ye might go on to Lowry's.  He takes boarders
sometimes."

But Lowry's did not attract us.  An ordinary country-tavern, where
stage-passengers took supper, was not what we came so far to find.

"Do you know where this house o' Dutton's is?" said the driver, to
the man who had once taken either dinner or supper there.

"Oh yes!  I'd know the house well enough, if I saw it.  It's the
fust house this side o' Lowry's."

"With a big pole in front of it?" asked the driver.

"Yes, there was a sign-pole in front of it."

"An a long porch?"

"Yes."

"Oh! well!" said the driver, settling himself in his seat.  "I know
all about that house.  That's a empty house.  I didn't think you
meant that house.  There's nobody lives there.  An' yit, now I come
to remember, I have seen people about, too.  I tell ye what ye
better do.  Since ye're so set on staying on this side the ridge,
ye better let me put ye down at Dan Carson's place.  That's jist
about quarter of a mile from where Dutton used to live.  Dan's wife
can tell ye all about the Duttons, an' about everybody else, too,
in this part o' the country, and if there aint nobody livin' at the
old tavern, ye can stay all night at Carson's, and I'll stop an'
take you back, to-morrow, when I come along."

We agreed to this plan, for there was nothing better to be done,
and, late in the afternoon, we were set down with our small trunk--
for we were traveling under light weight--at Dan Carson's door.
The stage was rather behind time, and the driver whipped up and
left us to settle our own affairs.  He called back, however, that
he would keep a good lookout for us to-morrow.

Mrs. Carson soon made her appearance, and, very naturally, was
somewhat surprised to see visitors with their baggage standing on
her little porch.  She was a plain, coarsely dressed woman, with an
apron full of chips and kindling wood, and a fine mind for detail,
as we soon discovered.

"Jist so," said she, putting down the chips, and inviting us to
seats on a bench.  "Dave Dutton's folks is all moved away.  Dave
has a good farm on the other side o' the mountain, an' it never did
pay him to keep that tavern, 'specially as he didn't sell liquor.
When he went away, his son Al come there to live with his wife, an'
the old man left a good deal o' furniter and things fur him, but
Al's wife aint satisfied here, and, though they've been here, off
an' on, the house is shet up most o' the time.  It's fur sale an'
to rent, both, ef anybody wants it.  I'm sorry about you, too, fur
it was a nice tavern, when Dave kept it."

We admitted that we were also very sorry, and the kind-hearted
woman showed a great deal of sympathy.

"You might stay here, but we haint got no fit room where you two
could sleep."

At this, Euphemia and I looked very blank.  "But you could go up to
the house and stay, jist as well as not," Mrs. Carson continued.
"There's plenty o' things there, an' I keep the key.  For the
matter o' that, ye might take the house for as long as ye want to
stay; Dave 'd be glad enough to rent it; and, if the lady knows how
to keep house, it wouldn't be no trouble at all, jist for you two.
We could let ye have all the victuals ye'd want, cheap, and there's
plenty o' wood there, cut, and everything handy."

We looked at each other.  We agreed.  Here was a chance for a rare
good time.  It might be better, perhaps, than anything we had
expected.

The bargain was struck.  Mrs. Carson, who seemed vested with all
the necessary powers of attorney, appeared to be perfectly
satisfied with our trustworthiness, and when I paid on the spot the
small sum she thought proper for two weeks' rent, she evidently
considered she had done a very good thing for Dave Dutton and
herself.

"I'll jist put some bread, an' eggs, an' coffee, an' pork, an'
things in a basket, an' I'll have 'em took up fur ye, with yer
trunk, an' I'll go with ye an' take some milk.  Here, Danny!" she
cried, and directly her husband, a long, thin, sun-burnt, sandy-
headed man, appeared, and to him she told, in a few words, our
story, and ordered him to hitch up the cart and be ready to take
our trunk and the basket up to Dutton's old house.

When all was ready, we walked up the hill, followed by Danny and
the cart.  We found the house a large, low, old-fashioned farm-
house, standing near the road with a long piazza in front, and a
magnificent view of mountain-tops in the rear.  Within, the lower
rooms were large and low, with quite a good deal of furniture in
them.  There was no earthly reason why we should not be perfectly
jolly and comfortable here.  The more we saw, the more delighted we
were at the odd experience we were about to have.  Mrs. Carson
busied herself in getting things in order for our supper and
general accommodation.  She made Danny carry our trunk to a bedroom
in the second story, and then set him to work building a fire in a
great fire-place, with a crane for the kettle.

When she had done all she could, it was nearly dark, and after
lighting a couple of candles, she left us, to go home and get
supper for her own family.

As she and Danny were about to depart in the cart, she ran back to
ask us if we would like to borrow a dog.

"There aint nuthin to be afeard of," she said; "for nobody hardly
ever takes the trouble to lock the doors in these parts, but bein'
city folks, I thought ye might feel better if ye had a dog."

We made haste to tell her that we were not city folks, but declined
the dog.  Indeed, Euphemia remarked that she would be much more
afraid of a strange dog than of robbers.

After supper, which we enjoyed as much as any meal we ever ate in
our lives, we each took a candle, and after arranging our bedroom
for the night, we explored the old house.  There were lots of
curious things everywhere,--things that were apparently so "old
timey," as my wife remarked, that David Dutton did not care to take
them with him to his new farm, and so left them for his son, who
probably cared for them even less than his father did.  There was a
garret extending over the whole house, and filled with old
spinning-wheels, and strings of onions, and all sorts of antiquated
bric-a-brac, which was so fascinating to me that I could scarcely
tear myself away from it; but Euphemia, who was dreadfully afraid
that I would set the whole place on fire, at length prevailed on me
to come down.

We slept soundly that night, in what was probably the best bedroom
of the house, and awoke with a feeling that we were about to enter
on a period of some uncommon kind of jollity, which we found to be
true when we went down to get breakfast.  I made the fire, Euphemia
made the coffee, and Mrs. Carson came with cream and some fresh
eggs.  The good woman was in high spirits.  She was evidently
pleased at the idea of having neighbors, temporary though they
were, and it had probably been a long time since she had had such a
chance of selling milk, eggs and sundries.  It was almost the same
as opening a country store.  We bought groceries and everything of
her.

We had a glorious time that day.  We were just starting out for a
mountain stroll when our stage-driver came along on his down trip.

"Hello!" he called out.  "Want to go back this morning?"

"Not a bit of it," I cried.  "We wont go back for a couple of
weeks.  We've settled here for the present."

The man smiled.  He didn't seem to understand it exactly, but he
was evidently glad to see us so well satisfied.  If he had had time
to stop and have the matter explained to him, he would probably
have been better satisfied; but as it was, he waved his whip to us
and drove on.  He was a good fellow.

We strolled all day, having locked up the house and taken our lunch
with us; and when we came back, it seemed really like coming home.
Mrs. Carson with whom we had left the key, had brought the milk and
was making the fire.  This woman was too kind.  We determined to
try and repay her in some way.  After a splendid supper we went to
bed happy.

The next day was a repetition of this one, but the day after it
rained.  So we determined to enjoy the old tavern, and we rummaged
about everywhere.  I visited the garret again, and we went to the
old barn, with its mows half full of hay, and had rare times
climbing about there.  We were delighted that it happened to rain.
In a wood-shed, near the house, I saw a big square board with
letters on it.  I examined the board, and found it was a sign,--a
hanging sign,--and on it was painted in letters that were yet quite
plain:


    "FARMERS'
       AND
    MECHANICS'
      HOTEL."


I called to Euphemia and told her that I had found the old tavern
sign.  She came to look at it, and I pulled it out.

"Soldiers and sailors!" she exclaimed; "that's funny."

I looked over on her side of the sign, and, sure enough, there was
the inscription:


    "SOLDIERS
       AND
     SAILORS'
      HOUSE."


"They must have bought this comprehensive sign in some town," I
said.  "Such a name would never have been chosen for a country
tavern like this.  But I wish they hadn't taken it down.  The house
would look more like what it ought to be with its sign hanging
before it."

"Well, then," said Euphemia, "let's put it up."  I agreed instantly
to this proposition, and we went to look for a ladder.  We found
one in the wagon-house, and carried it out to the sign-post in the
front of the house.  It was raining, gently, during these
performances, but we had on our old clothes, and were so much
interested in our work that we did not care for a little rain.  I
carried the sign to the post, and then, at the imminent risk of
breaking my neck, I hung it on its appropriate hooks on the
transverse beam of the sign-post.  Now our tavern was really what
it pretended to be.  We gazed on the sign with admiration and
content.

"Do you think we had better keep it up all the time?" I asked of my
wife.

"Certainly," said she.  "It's a part of the house.  The place isn't
complete without it."

"But suppose some one should come along and want to be
entertained?"

"But no one will.  And if people do come, I'll take care of the
soldiers and sailors, if you will attend to the farmers and
mechanics."

I consented to this, and we went in-doors to prepare dinner.



CHAPTER XVIII.

OUR TAVERN.


The next day was clear again, and we rambled in the woods until the
sun was nearly down, and so were late about supper.  We were just
taking our seats at the table when we heard a footstep on the front
porch.  Instantly the same thought came into each of our minds.

"I do believe," said Euphemia, "that's somebody who has mistaken
this for a tavern.  I wonder whether it's a soldier or a farmer or
a sailor; but you had better go and see."

I went to see, prompted to move quickly by the new-comer pounding
his cane on the bare floor of the hall.  I found him standing just
inside of the front door.  He was a small man, with long hair and
beard, and dressed in a suit of clothes of a remarkable color,--
something of the hue of faded snuff.  He had a big stick, and
carried a large flat valise in one hand.

He bowed to me very politely.

"Can I stop here to-night?" he asked, taking off his hat, as my
wife put her head out of the kitchen-door.

"Why,--no, sir," I said.  "This is not a tavern."

"Not a tavern!" he exclaimed.  "I don't understand that.  You have
a sign out."

"That is true," I said; "but that is only for fun, so to speak.  We
are here temporarily, and we put up that sign just to please
ourselves."

"That is pretty poor fun for me," said the man.  "I am very tired,
and more hungry than tired.  Couldn't you let me have a little
supper at any rate?"

Euphemia glanced at me.  I nodded.

"You are welcome to some supper," she said, "Come in!  We eat in
the kitchen because it is more convenient, and because it is so
much more cheerful than the dining-room.  There is a pump out
there, and here is a towel, if you would like to wash your hands."

As the man went out the back door I complimented my wife.  She was
really an admirable hostess.

The individual in faded snuff-color was certainly hungry, and he
seemed to enjoy his supper.  During the meal he gave us some
account of himself.  He was an artist and had traveled, mostly on
foot it would appear, over a great part of the country.  He had in
his valise some very pretty little colored sketches of scenes in
Mexico and California, which he showed us after supper.  Why he
carried these pictures--which were done on stiff paper--about with
him I do not know.  He said he did not care to sell them, as he
might use them for studies for larger pictures some day.  His
valise, which he opened wide on the table, seemed to be filled with
papers, drawings, and matters of that kind.  I suppose he preferred
to wear his clothes, instead of carrying them about in his valise.

After sitting for about half an hour after supper, he rose, with an
uncertain sort of smile, and said he supposed he must be moving
on,--asking, at the same time, how far it was to the tavern over
the ridge.

"Just wait one moment, if you please," said Euphemia.  And she
beckoned me out of the room.

"Don't you think," said she, "that we could keep him all night?
There's no moon, and it would be a fearful dark walk, I know, to
the other side of the mountain.  There is a room upstairs that I
can fix for him in ten minutes, and I know he's honest."

"How do you know it?" I asked.

"Well, because he wears such curious-colored clothes.  No criminal
would ever wear such clothes.  He could never pass unnoticed
anywhere; and being probably the only person in the world who
dressed that way, he could always be detected."

"You are doubtless correct," I replied.  "Let us keep him."

When we told the good man that he could stay all night, he was
extremely obliged to us, and went to bed quite early.  After we had
fastened the house and had gone to our room, my wife said to me,

"Where is your pistol?"

I produced it.

"Well," said she, "I think you ought to have it where you can get
at it."

"Why so?" I asked.  "You generally want me to keep it out of sight
and reach."

"Yes; but when there is a strange man in the house we ought to take
extra precautions."

"But this man you say is honest," I replied.  "If he committed a
crime he could not escape,--his appearance is so peculiar."

"But that wouldn't do us any good, if we were both murdered," said
Euphemia, pulling a chair up to my side of the bed, and laying the
pistol carefully thereon, with the muzzle toward the bed.

We were not murdered, and we had a very pleasant breakfast with the
artist, who told us more anecdotes of his life in Mexico and other
places.  When, after breakfast, he shut up his valise, preparatory
to starting away, we felt really sorry.  When he was ready to go,
he asked for his bill.

"Oh!  There is no bill," I exclaimed.  "We have no idea of charging
you anything.  We don't really keep a hotel, as I told you."

"If I had known that," said he, looking very grave, "I would not
have stayed.  There is no reason why you should give me food and
lodgings, and I would not, and did not, ask it.  I am able to pay
for such things, and I wish to do so."

We argued with him for some time, speaking of the habits of country
people and so on, but he would not be convinced.  He had asked for
accommodation expecting to pay for it, and would not be content
until he had done so.

"Well," said Euphemia, "we are not keeping this house for profit,
and you can't force us to make anything out of you.  If you will be
satisfied to pay us just what it cost us to entertain you, I
suppose we shall have to let you do that.  Take a seat for a
minute, and I will make out your bill."

So the artist and I sat down and talked of various matters, while
my wife got out her traveling stationery-box, and sat down to the
dining-table to make out the bill.  After a long, long time, as it
appeared to me, I said:

"My dear, if the amount of that bill is at all proportioned to the
length of time it takes to make it out, I think our friend here
will wish he had never said anything about it."

"It's nearly done," said she, without raising her head, and, in
about ten or fifteen minutes more, she rose and presented the bill
to our guest.  As I noticed that he seemed somewhat surprised at
it, I asked him to let me look over it with him.  The bill, of
which I have a copy, read as follows:


July 12th, 187-

ARTIST,

To the S. and S. Hotel and F. and M. House.

To 1/3 one supper, July 11th, which supper consisted of:

   1/14 lb. coffee, at 35 cts.               2 cts.

     "  "   sugar,  "  14  "                 1  "

    1/6 qt. milk,   "   6  "                 1  "

    1/2 loaf bread  "   6  "                 3  "

    1/8 lb. butter  "  25  "              3 1/8 "

    1/2 "  bacon    "  25  "             12 1/2 "

   1/16 pk. potatoes at 60 cts. per bush  15/16 "

    1/2 pt. hominy at 6 cts                   3 "
                                         --------
                                         27 1/16

                               1/3 of total      09 1/48 cts.

To 1/3 one breakfast, July 12th (same as
above, with exception of eggs instead of
bacon, and with hominy omitted),
                                         --------
                                          24 1/6

                                 1/3 total       08 1/48  "

To rent of one room and furniture, for one
night, in furnished house of fifteen rooms
at $6.00 per week for whole house                 05 3/8  "
                                                ------------
                               Amount due       22 17/24 cts.


The worthy artist burst out laughing when he read this bill, and so
did I.

"You needn't laugh," said Euphemia, reddening a little.  "That is
exactly what your entertainment cost, and we do not intend to take
a cent more.  We get things here in such small quantities that I
can tell quite easily what a meal costs us, and I have calculated
that bill very carefully."

"So I should think, madam," said the artist, "but it is not quite
right.  You have charged nothing for your trouble and services."

"No," said my wife, "for I took no additional trouble to get your
meals.  What I did, I should have done if you had not come.  To be
sure I did spend a few minutes preparing your room.  I will charge
you seven twenty-fourths of a cent for that, thus making your bill
twenty-three cents--even money."

"I cannot gainsay reasoning like yours, madam," he said, and he
took a quarter from a very fat old pocket-book, and handed it to
her.  She gravely gave him two cents change, and then taking the
bill, receipted it, and handed it back to him.

We were sorry to part with our guest, for he was evidently a good
fellow.  I walked with him a little way up the road, and got him to
let me copy his bill in my memorandum-book.  The original, he said,
he would always keep.

A day or two after the artist's departure, we were standing on the
front piazza.  We had had a late breakfast--consequent upon a long
tramp the day before--and had come out to see what sort of a day it
was likely to be.  We had hardly made up our minds on the subject
when the morning stage came up at full speed and stopped at our
gate.

"Hello!" cried the driver.  He was not our driver.  He was a tall
man in high boots, and had a great reputation as a manager of
horses--so Danny Carson told me afterward.  There were two drivers
on the line, and each of them made one trip a day, going up one day
in the afternoon, and down the next day in the morning.

I went out to see what this driver wanted.

"Can't you give my passengers breakfast?" he asked.

"Why, no!" I exclaimed, looking at the stage loaded inside and out.
"This isn't a tavern.  We couldn't get breakfast for a stage-load
of people."

"What have you got a sign up fur, then?" roared the driver, getting
red in the face.

"That's so," cried two or three men from the top of the stage.  "If
it aint a tavern, what's that sign doin' there?"

I saw I must do something.  I stepped up close to the stage and
looked in and up.

"Are there any sailors in this stage?" I said.  There was no
response.  "Any soldiers?  Any farmers or mechanics?"

At the latter question I trembled, but fortunately no one answered.

"Then," said I, "you have no right to ask to be accommodated; for,
as you may see from the sign, our house is only for soldiers,
sailors, farmers, and mechanics."

"And besides," cried Euphemia from the piazza, "we haven't anything
to give you for breakfast."

The people in and on the stage grumbled a good deal at this, and
looked as if they were both disappointed and hungry, while the
driver ripped out an oath, which, had he thrown it across a creek,
would soon have made a good-sized millpond.

He gathered up his reins and turned a sinister look on me.

"I'll be even with you, yit," he cried as he dashed off.

In the afternoon Mrs. Carson came up and told us that the stage had
stopped there, and that she had managed to give the passengers some
coffee, bread and butter and ham and eggs, though they had had to
wait their turns for cups and plates.  It appeared that the driver
had quarreled with the Lowry people that morning because the
breakfast was behindhand and he was kept waiting.  So he told his
passengers that there was another tavern, a few miles down the
road, and that he would take them there to breakfast.

"He's an awful ugly man, that he is," said Mrs. Carson, "an' he'd
better 'a' stayed at Lowry's, fur he had to wait a good sight
longer, after all, as it turned out.  But he's dreadful mad at you,
an' says he'll bring ye farmers, an' soldiers, and sailors, an'
mechanics, if that's what ye want.  I 'spect he'll do his best to
git a load of them particular people an' drop 'em at yer door.  I'd
take down that sign, ef I was you.  Not that me an' Danny minds,
fur we're glad to git a stage to feed, an' ef you've any single man
that wants lodgin' we've fixed up a room and kin keep him
overnight."

Notwithstanding this warning, Euphemia and I decided not to take in
our sign.  We were not to be frightened by a stage-driver.  The
next day our own driver passed us on the road as he was going down.

"So ye're pertickler about the people ye take in, are ye?" said he,
smiling.  "That's all right, but ye made Bill awful mad."

It was quite late on a Monday afternoon that Bill stopped at our
house again.  He did not call out this time.  He simply drew up,
and a man with a big black valise clambered down from the top of
the stage.  Then Bill shouted to me as I walked down to the gate,
looking rather angry I suppose:

"I was agoin' to git ye a whole stage-load, to stay all night, but
that one'll do ye, I reckon.  Ha, ha!"  And off he went, probably
fearing that I would throw his passenger up on the top of the stage
again.

The new-comer entered the gate.  He was a dark man, with black hair
and black whiskers and mustache, and black eyes.  He wore clothes
that had been black, but which were now toned down by a good deal
of dust, and, as I have said, he carried a black valise.

"Why did you stop here?" said I, rather inhospitably.  "Don't you
know that we do not accommodate--"

"Yes, I know," he said, walking up on the piazza and setting down
his valise, "that you only take soldiers, sailors, farmers, and
mechanics at this house.  I have been told all about it, and if I
had not thoroughly understood the matter I should not have thought
of such a thing as stopping here.  If you will sit down for a few
moments I will explain."  Saying this, he took a seat on a bench by
the door, but Euphemia and I continued to stand.

"I am," he continued, "a soldier, a sailor, a farmer, and a
mechanic.  Do not doubt my word; I will prove it to you in two
minutes.  When but seventeen years of age, circumstances compelled
me to take charge of a farm in New Hampshire, and I kept up that
farm until I was twenty-five.  During this time I built several
barns, wagon-houses, and edifices of the sort on my place, and,
becoming expert in this branch of mechanical art, I was much sought
after by the neighboring farmers, who employed me to do similar
work for them.  In time I found this new business so profitable
that I gave up farming altogether.  But certain unfortunate
speculations threw me on my back, and finally, having gone from bad
to worse, I found myself in Boston, where, in sheer desperation, I
went on board a coasting vessel as landsman.  I remained on this
vessel for nearly a year, but it did not suit me.  I was often
sick, and did not like the work.  I left the vessel at one of the
Southern ports, and it was not long after she sailed that, finding
myself utterly without means, I enlisted as a soldier.  I remained
in the army for some years, and was finally honorably discharged.
So you see that what I said was true.  I belong to each and all of
these businesses and professions.  And now that I have satisfied
you on this point, let me show you a book for which I have the
agency in this country."  He stooped down, opened his valise, and
took out a good-sized volume.  "This book," said he, "is the 'Flora
and Fauna of Carthage County;' it is written by one of the first
scientific men of the country, and gives you a description, with an
authentic wood-cut, of each of the plants and animals of the
county--indigenous or naturalized.  Owing to peculiar advantages
enjoyed by our firm, we are enabled to put this book at the very
low price of three dollars and seventy-five cents.  It is sold by
subscription only, and should be on the center-table in every
parlor in this county.  If you will glance over this book, sir, you
will find it as interesting as a novel, and as useful as an
encyclopaedia--"

"I don't want the book," I said, "and I don't care to look at it."

"But if you were to look at it you would want it, I'm sure."

"That's a good reason for not looking at it, then," I answered.
"If you came to get us to subscribe for that book we need not take
up any more of your time, for we shall not subscribe."

"Oh, I did not come for that alone," he said.  "I shall stay here
to-night and start out in the morning to work up the neighborhood.
If you would like this book--and I'm sure you have only to look at
it to do that--you can deduct the amount of my bill from the
subscription price, and--"

"What did you say you charged for this book?" asked Euphemia,
stepping forward and picking up the volume.

"Three seventy-five is the subscription price, ma'am, but that book
is not for sale.  That is merely a sample.  If you put your name
down on my list you will be served with your book in two weeks.  As
I told your husband, it will come very cheap to you, because you
can deduct what you charge me for supper, lodging, and breakfast."

"Indeed!" said my wife, and then she remarked that she must go in
the house and get supper.

"When will supper be ready?" the man asked, as she passed him.

At first she did not answer him, but then she called back:

"In about half an hour."

"Good," said the man; "but I wish it was ready now.  And now, sir,
if you would just glance over this book, while we are waiting for
supper--"

I cut him very short and went out into the road.  I walked up and
down in front of the house, in a bad humor.  I could not bear to
think of my wife getting supper for this fellow, who was striding
about on the piazza, as if he was very hungry and very impatient.
Just as I returned to the house, the bell rang from within.

"Joyful sound!" said the man, and in he marched.  I followed close
behind him.  On one end of the table, in the kitchen, supper was
set for one person, and, as the man entered, Euphemia motioned him
to the table.  The supper looked like a remarkably good one.  A cup
of coffee smoked by the side of the plate; there was ham and eggs
and a small omelette; there were fried potatoes, some fresh
radishes, a plate of hot biscuit, and some preserves.  The man's
eyes sparkled.

"I am sorry," said he, "that I am to eat alone, for I hoped to have
your good company; but, if this plan suits you, it suits me," and
he drew up a chair.

"Stop!" said Euphemia, advancing between him and the table.  "You
are not to eat that.  This is a sample supper.  If you order a
supper like it, one will be served to you in two weeks."

At this I burst into a roar of laughter; my wife stood pale and
determined, and the man drew back, looking first at one of us, and
then at the other.

"Am I to understand--?" he said.

"Yes," I interrupted, "you are.  There is nothing more to be said
on this subject.  You may go now.  You came here to annoy us,
knowing that we did not entertain travelers, and now you see what
you have made by it," and I opened the door.

The man evidently thought that a reply was not necessary, and he
walked out without a word.  Taking up his valise, which he had put
in the hall, he asked if there was any public-house near by.

"No," I said; "but there is a farm-house a short distance down the
road, where they will be glad to have you."  And down the road he
went to Mrs. Carson's.  I am sorry to say that he sold her a "Flora
and Fauna" before he went to bed that night.

We were much amused at the termination of this affair, and I
became, if possible, a still greater admirer of Euphemia's talents
for management.  But we both agreed that it would not do to keep up
the sign any longer.  We could not tell when the irate driver might
not pounce down upon us with a customer.

"But I hate to take it down," said Euphemia; "it looks so much like
a surrender."

"Do not trouble yourself," said I.  "I have an idea."

The next morning I went down to Danny Carson's little shop,--he was
a wheelwright as well as a farmer,--and I got from him two pots of
paint--one black and one white--and some brushes.  I took down our
sign, and painted out the old lettering, and, instead of it, I
painted, in bold and somewhat regular characters, new names for our
tavern.

On one side of the sign I painted:


     "SOAP-MAKER'S
         AND
     BOOK-BINDER'S
        HOTEL."


And on the other side:


     "UPHOLSTERERS'
          AND
       DENTISTS'
        HOUSE."


"Now then," I said, "I don't believe any of those people will be
traveling along the road while we are here, or, at any rate, they
won't want to stop."

We admired this sign very much, and sat on the piazza, that
afternoon, to see how it would strike Bill, as he passed by.  It
seemed to strike him pretty hard, for he gazed with all his eyes at
one side of it, as he approached, and then, as he passed it, he
actually pulled up to read the other side.

"All right!" he called out, as he drove off.  "All right!  All
right!"

Euphemia didn't like the way he said "all right."  It seemed to
her, she said, as if he intended to do something which would be all
right for him, but not at all so for us.  I saw she was nervous
about it, for that evening she began to ask me questions about the
traveling propensities of soap-makers, upholsterers, and dentists.

"Do not think anything more about that, my dear," I said.  "I will
take the sign down in the morning.  We are here to enjoy ourselves,
and not to be worried."

"And yet," said she, "it would worry me to think that that driver
frightened us into taking down the sign.  I tell you what I wish
you would do.  Paint out those names, and let me make a sign.  Then
I promise you I will not be worried."

The next day, therefore, I took down the sign and painted out my
inscriptions.  It was a good deal of trouble, for my letters were
fresh, but it was a rainy day, and I had plenty of time, and
succeeded tolerably well.  Then I gave Euphemia the black-paint pot
and the freedom of the sign.

I went down to the creek to try a little fishing in wet weather,
and when I returned the new sign was done.  On one side it read:


     FLIES'
      AND
     WASPS'
     HOTEL.


On the other:


  HUNDRED-LEGGERS'
       AND
     RED-ANTS'
      HOUSE.


"You see," said euphemia, "if any individuals mentioned thereon
apply for accommodation, we can say we are full."

This sign hung triumphantly for several days, when one morning,
just as we had finished breakfast, we were surprised to hear the
stage stop at the door, and before we could go out to see who had
arrived, into the room came our own stage-driver, as we used to
call him.  He had actually left his team to come and see us.

"I just thought I'd stop an' tell ye," said he, "that ef ye don't
look out, Bill'll get ye inter trouble.  He's bound to git the best
o' ye, an' I heared this mornin', at Lowry's, that he's agoin' to
bring the county clerk up here to-morrow, to see about yer license
fur keepin' a hotel.  He says ye keep changin' yer signs, but that
don't differ to him, for he kin prove ye've kept travelers
overnight, an' ef ye haven't got no license he'll make the county
clerk come down on ye heavy, I'm sure o' that, fur I know Bill.
An' so, I thought I'd stop an' tell ye."

I thanked him, and admitted that this was a rather serious view of
the case.  Euphemia pondered a moment.  Then said she:

"I don't see why we should stay here any longer.  It's going to
rain again, and our vacation is up to-morrow, anyway.  Could you
wait a little while, while we pack up?" she said to the driver.

"Oh yes!" he replied.  "I kin wait, as well as not.  I've only got
one passenger, an' he's on top, a-holdin' the horses.  He aint in
any hurry, I know, an' I'm ahead o' time."

In less than twenty minutes we had packed our trunk, locked up the
house, and were in the stage, and, as we drove away, we cast a last
admiring look at Euphemia's sign, slowly swinging in the wind.  I
would much like to know if it is swinging there yet.  I feel
certain there has been no lack of custom.

We stopped at Mrs. Carson's, paid her what we owed her, and engaged
her to go up to the tavern and put things in order.  She was very
sorry we were going, but hoped we would come back again some other
summer.  We said that it was quite possible that we might do so;
but that, next time, we did not think we would try to have a tavern
of our own.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE BABY AT RUDDER GRANGE.


For some reason, not altogether understood by me, there seemed to
be a continued series of new developments at our home.  I had
supposed, when the events spoken of in the last chapter had settled
down to their proper places in our little history, that our life
would flow on in an even, commonplace way, with few or no incidents
worthy of being recorded.  But this did not prove to be the case.
After a time, the uniformity and quiet of our existence was
considerably disturbed.

This disturbance was caused by a baby, not a rude, imperious baby,
but a child who was generally of a quiet and orderly turn of mind.
But it disarranged all our plans; all our habits; all the ordinary
disposition of things.

It was in the summer-time, during my vacation, that it began to
exert its full influence upon us.  A more unfortunate season could
not have been selected.  At first, I may say that it did not exert
its full influence upon me.  I was away, during the day, and, in
the evening, its influence was not exerted, to any great extent,
upon anybody.  As I have said, its habits were exceedingly orderly.
But, during my vacation, the things came to pass which have made
this chapter necessary.

I did not intend taking a trip.  As in a former vacation, I
proposed staying at home and enjoying those delights of the country
which my business in town did not allow me to enjoy in the working
weeks and months of the year.  I had no intention of camping out,
or of doing anything of that kind, but many were the trips, rides,
and excursions I had planned.

I found, however, that if I enjoyed myself in this wise, I must do
it, for the most part, alone.  It was not that Euphemia could not
go with me--there was really nothing to prevent--it was simply that
she had lost, for the time, her interest in everything except that
baby.

She wanted me to be happy, to amuse myself, to take exercise, to do
whatever I thought was pleasant, but she, herself, was so much
engrossed with the child, that she was often ignorant of what I
intended to do, or had done.  She thought she was listening to what
I said to her, but, in reality, she was occupied, mind and body,
with the baby, or listening for some sound which should indicate
that she ought to go and be occupied with it.

I would often say to her: "Why can't you let Pomona attend to it?
You surely need not give up your whole time and your whole mind to
the child."

But she would always answer that Pomona had a great many things to
do, and that she couldn't, at all times, attend to the baby.
Suppose, for instance, that she should be at the barn.

I once suggested that a nurse should be procured, but at this she
laughed.

"There is very little to do," she said, "and I really like to do
it."

"Yes," said I, "but you spend so much of your time in thinking how
glad you will be to do that little, when it is to be done, that you
can't give me any attention, at all."

"Now you have no cause to say that," she exclaimed.  "You know very
well--, there!" and away she ran.  It had just begun to cry!

Naturally, I was getting tired of this.  I could never begin a
sentence and feel sure that I would be allowed to finish it.
Nothing was important enough to delay attention to an infantile
whimper.

Jonas, too, was in a state of unrest.  He was obliged to wear his
good clothes, a great part of the time, for he was continually
going on errands to the village, and these errands were so
important that they took precedence of everything else.  It gave me
a melancholy sort of pleasure, sometimes, to do Jonas's work when
he was thus sent away.

I asked him, one day, how he liked it all?

"Well," said he, reflectively, "I can't say as I understand it,
exactly.  It does seem queer to me that such a little thing should
take up pretty nigh all the time of three people.  I suppose, after
a while," this he said with a grave smile, "that you may be wanting
to turn in and help."  I did not make any answer to this, for Jonas
was, at that moment, summoned to the house, but it gave me an idea.
In fact, it gave me two ideas.

The first was that Jonas's remark was not entirely respectful.  He
was my hired man, but he was a very respectable man, and an
American man, and therefore might sometimes be expected to say
things which a foreigner, not known to be respectable, would not
think of saying, if he wished to keep his place.  The fact that
Jonas had always been very careful to treat me with much civility,
caused this remark to make more impression on me.  I felt that he
had, in a measure, reason for it.

The other idea was one which grew and developed in my mind until I
afterward formed a plan upon it.  I determined, however, before I
carried out my plan, to again try to reason with Euphemia.

"If it was our own baby," I said, "or even the child of one of us,
by a former marriage, it would be a different thing; but to give
yourself up so entirely to Pomona's baby, seems, to me,
unreasonable.  Indeed, I never heard of any case exactly like it.
It is reversing all the usages of society for the mistress to take
care of the servant's baby."

"The usages of society are not worth much, sometimes," said
Euphemia, "and you must remember that Pomona is a very different
kind of a person from an ordinary servant.  She is much more like a
member of the family--I can't exactly explain what kind of a
member, but I understand it myself.  She has very much improved
since she has been married, and you know, yourself, how quiet and--
and, nice she is, and as for the baby, it's just as good and pretty
as any baby, and it may grow up to be better than any of us.  Some
of our presidents have sprung from lowly parents."

"But this one is a girl," I said.

"Well then," replied Euphemia, "she may be a president's wife."

"Another thing," I remarked, "I don't believe Jonas and Pomona like
your keeping their baby so much to yourself."

"Nonsense!" said Euphemia, "a girl in Pomona's position couldn't
help being glad to have a lady take an interest in her baby, and
help bring it up.  And as for Jonas, he would be a cruel man if he
wasn't pleased and grateful to have his wife relieved of so much
trouble.  Pomona! is that you?  You can bring it here, now, if you
want to get at your clear-starching."

I don't believe that Pomona hankered after clear-starching, but she
brought the baby and I went away.  I could not see any hope ahead.
Of course, in time, it would grow up, but then it couldn't grow up
during my vacation.

Then it was that I determined to carry out my plan.

I went to the stable and harnessed the horse to the little
carriage.  Jonas was not there, and I had fallen out of the habit
of calling him.  I drove slowly through the yard and out of the
gate.  No one called to me or asked where I was going.  How
different this was from the old times!  Then, some one would not
have failed to know where I was going, and, in all probability, she
would have gone with me.  But now I drove away, quietly and
undisturbed.

About three miles from our house was a settlement known as New
Dublin.  It was a cluster of poor and doleful houses, inhabited
entirely by Irish people, whose dirt and poverty seemed to make
them very contented and happy.  The men were generally away, at
their work, during the day, but there was never any difficulty in
finding some one at home, no matter at what house one called.  I
was acquainted with one of the matrons of this locality, a Mrs.
Duffy, who had occasionally undertaken some odd jobs at our house,
and to her I made a visit.

She was glad to see me, and wiped off a chair for me.

"Mrs. Duffy," said I, "I want to rent a baby."

At first, the good woman could not understand me, but when I made
plain to her that I wished for a short time, to obtain the
exclusive use and control of a baby, for which I was willing to pay
a liberal rental, she burst into long and violent laughter.  It
seemed to her like a person coming into the country to purchase
weeds.  Weeds and children were so abundant in New Dublin.  But she
gradually began to see that I was in earnest, and as she knew I was
a trusty person, and somewhat noted for the care I took of my live
stock, she was perfectly willing to accommodate me, but feared she
had nothing on hand of the age I desired.

"Me childther are all agoin' about," she said.  "Ye kin see a poile
uv 'em out yon, in the road, an' there's more uv 'em on the fince.
But ye nade have no fear about gittin' wan.  There's sthacks of 'em
in the place.  I'll jist run over to Mrs. Hogan's, wid ye.  She's
got sixteen or siventeen, mostly small, for Hogan brought four or
five wid him when he married her, an' she'll be glad to rint wan uv
'em."  So, throwing her apron over her head, she accompanied me to
Mrs. Hogan's.

That lady was washing, but she cheerfully stopped her work while
Mrs. Duffy took her to one side and explained my errand.  Mrs.
Hogan did not appear to be able to understand why I wanted a baby-
especially for so limited a period,--but probably concluded that if
I would take good care of it and would pay well for it, the matter
was my own affair, for she soon came and said, that if I wanted a
baby, I'd come to the right place.  Then she began to consider what
one she would let me have.  I insisted on a young one--there was
already a little baby at our house, and the folks there would know
how to manage it.

"Oh, ye want it fer coompany for the ither one, is that it?" said
Mrs. Hogan, a new light breaking in upon her.  "An' that's a good
plan, sure.  It must be dridful lownly in a house wid ownly wan
baby.  Now there's one--Polly--would she do?"

"Why, she can run," I said.  "I don't want one that can run."

"Oh, dear!" said Mrs. Hogan, with a sigh, "they all begin to run,
very airly.  Now Polly isn't owld, at all, at all."

"I can see that," said I, "but I want one that you can put in a
cradle--one that will have to stay there, when you put it in."

It was plain that Mrs. Hogan's present stock did not contain
exactly what I wanted, and directly Mrs. Duffy exclaimed!  "There's
Mary McCann--an' roight across the way!"

Mrs. Hogan said "Yis, sure," and we all went over to a little
house, opposite.

"Now, thin," said Mrs. Duffy, entering the house, and proudly
drawing a small coverlid from a little box-bed in a corner, "what
do you think of that?"

"Why, there are two of them," I exclaimed.

"To be sure," said Mrs. Duffy.  "They're tweens.  There's always
two uv em, when they're tweens.  An' they're young enough."

"Yes," said I, doubtfully, "but I couldn't take both.  Do you think
their mother would rent one of them?"

The women shook their heads.  "Ye see, sir," said Mrs. Hogan, "Mary
McCann isn't here, bein' gone out to a wash, but she ownly has four
or foive childther, an' she aint much used to 'em yit, an' I kin
spake fer her that she'd niver siparate a pair o' tweens.  When she
gits a dozen hersilf, and marries a widow jintleman wid a lot uv
his own, she'll be glad enough to be lettin' ye have yer pick, to
take wan uv 'em fer coompany to yer own baby, at foive dollars a
week.  Moind that."

I visited several houses after this, still in company with Mrs.
Hogan and Mrs. Duffy, and finally secured a youngish infant, who,
having been left motherless, had become what Mrs. Duffy called a
"bottle-baby," and was in charge of a neighboring aunt.  It seemed
strange that this child, so eminently adapted to purposes of
rental, was not offered to me, at first, but I suppose the Irish
ladies, who had the matter in charge, wanted to benefit themselves,
or some of their near friends, before giving the general public of
New Dublin a chance.

The child suited me very well, and I agreed to take it for as many
days as I might happen to want it, but to pay by the week, in
advance.  It was a boy, with a suggestion of orange-red bloom all
over its head, and what looked, to me, like freckles on its cheeks;
while its little nose turned up, even more than those of babies
generally turn--above a very long upper lip.  His eyes were blue
and twinkling, and he had the very mouth "fer a leetle poipe," as
Mrs. Hogan admiringly remarked.

He was hastily prepared for his trip, and when I had arranged the
necessary business matters with his aunt, and had assured her that
she could come to see him whenever she liked, I got into the
carriage, and having spread the lap-robe over my knees, the baby,
carefully wrapped in a little shawl, was laid in my lap.  Then his
bottle, freshly filled, for he might need a drink on the way, was
tucked between the cushions on the seat beside me, and taking the
lines in my left hand, while I steadied my charge with the other, I
prepared to drive away.

"What's his name?" I asked.

"It's Pat," said his aunt, "afther his dad, who's away in the
moines."

"But ye kin call him onything ye bike," Mrs. Duffy remarked, "fer
he don't ansther to his name yit."

"Pat will do very well," I said, as I bade the good women farewell,
and carefully guided the horse through the swarms of youngsters who
had gathered around the carriage.



CHAPTER XX.

THE OTHER BABY AT RUDDER GRANGE.


I drove slowly home, and little Pat lay very quiet, looking up
steadily at me with his twinkling blue eyes.  For a time,
everything went very well, but happening to look up, I saw in the
distance a carriage approaching.  It was an open barouche, and I
knew it belonged to a family of our acquaintance, in the village,
and that it usually contained ladies.

Quick as thought, I rolled up Pat in his shawl and stuffed him
under the seat.  Then rearranging the lap-robe over my knees, I
drove on, trembling a little, it is true.

As I supposed, the carriage contained ladies, and I knew them all.
The coachman instinctively drew up, as we approached.  We always
stopped and spoke, on such occasions.

They asked me after my wife, apparently surprised to see me alone,
and made a number of pleasant observations, to all of which I
replied with as unconcerned and easy an air as I could assume.  The
ladies were in excellent spirits, but in spite of this, there
seemed to be an air of repression about them, which I thought of
when I drove on, but could not account for, for little Pat never
moved or whimpered, during the whole of the interview.

But when I took him again in my lap, and happened to turn, as I
arranged the robe, I saw his bottle sticking up boldly by my side
from between the cushions.  Then I did not wonder at the
repression.

When I reached home, I drove directly to the barn.  Fortunately,
Jonas was there.  When I called him and handed little Pat to him I
never saw a man more utterly amazed.  He stood, and held the child
without a word.  But when I explained the whole affair to him, he
comprehended it perfectly, and was delighted.  I think he was just
as anxious for my plan to work as I was myself, although he did not
say so.

I was about to take the child into the house, when Jonas remarked
that it was barefooted.

"That won't do," I said.  "It certainly had socks on, when I got
it.  I saw them."

"Here they are," said Jonas, fishing them out from the shawl, "he's
kicked them off."

"Well, we must put them on," I said, "it won't do to take him in,
that way.  You hold him."

So Jonas sat down on the feed-box, and carefully taking little Pat,
he held him horizontally, firmly pressed between his hands and
knees, with his feet stuck out toward me, while I knelt down before
him and tried to put on the little socks.  But the socks were knit
or worked very loosely, and there seemed to be a good many small
holes in them, so that Pat's funny little toes, which he kept
curling up and uncurling, were continually making their appearance
in unexpected places through the sock.  But, after a great deal of
trouble, I got them both on, with the heels in about the right
places.

"Now they ought to be tied on," I said, "Where are his garters?"

"I don't believe babies have garters," said Jonas, doubtfully, "but
I could rig him up a pair."

"No," said I; "we wont take the time for that.  I'll hold his legs
apart, as I carry him in.  It's rubbing his feet together that gets
them off."

As I passed the kitchen window, I saw Pomona at work.  She looked
at me, dropped something, and I heard a crash.  I don't know how
much that crash cost me.  Jonas rushed in to tell Pomona about it,
and in a moment I heard a scream of laughter.  At this, Euphemia
appeared at an upper window, with her hand raised and saying,
severely: "Hush-h!"  But the moment she saw me, she disappeared
from the window and came down-stairs on the run.  She met me, just
as I entered the dining-room.

"What IN the world!" she breathlessly exclaimed.

"This," said I, taking Pat into a better position in my arms, "is
my baby."

"Your--baby!" said Euphemia.  "Where did you get it? what are you
going to do with it?"

"I got it in New Dublin," I replied, "and I want it to amuse and
occupy me while I am at home.  I haven't anything else to do,
except things that take me away from you."

"Oh!" said Euphemia.

At this moment, little Pat gave his first whimper.  Perhaps he felt
the searching glance that fell upon him from the lady in the middle
of the room.

I immediately began to walk up and down the floor with him, and to
sing to him.  I did not know any infant music, but I felt sure that
a soothing tune was the great requisite, and that the words were of
small importance.  So I started on an old Methodist tune, which I
remembered very well, and which was used with the hymn containing
the lines:


     "Weak and wounded, sick and sore,"


and I sang, as soothingly as I could:


    "Lit-tle Pat-sy, Wat-sy, Sat-sy,
     Does he feel a lit-ty bad?
     Me will send and get his bot-tle
     He sha'n't have to cry-wy-wy."


"What an idiot!" said Euphemia, laughing in spite of her vexation.


    "No, we aint no id-i-otses
     What we want's a bot-ty mik."


So I sang as I walked to the kitchen door, and sent Jonas to the
barn for the bottle.

Pomona was in spasms of laughter in the kitchen, and Euphemia was
trying her best not to laugh at all.

"Who's going to take care of it, I'd like to know?" she said, as
soon as she could get herself into a state of severe inquiry.


    "Some-times me, and some-times Jonas,"


I sang, still walking up and down the room with a long, slow step,
swinging the baby from side to side, very much as if it were grass-
seed in a sieve, and I were sowing it over the carpet.

When the bottle came, I took it, and began to feed little Pat.
Perhaps the presence of a critical and interested audience
embarrassed us, for Jonas and Pomona were at the door, with
streaming eyes, while Euphemia stood with her handkerchief to the
lower part of her face, or it may have been that I did not
understand the management of bottles, but, at any rate, I could not
make the thing work, and the disappointed little Pat began to cry,
just as the whole of our audience burst into a wild roar of
laughter.

"Here!  Give me that child!" cried Euphemia, forcibly taking Pat
and the bottle from me.  "You'll make it swallow the whole affair,
and I'm sure its mouth's big enough."

"You really don't think," she said, when we were alone, and little
Pat, with his upturned blue eyes serenely surveying the features of
the good lady who knew how to feed him, was placidly pulling away
at his india-rubber tube, "that I will consent to your keeping such
a creature as this in the house?  Why, he's a regular little Paddy!
If you kept him he'd grow up into a hod-carrier."

"Good!" said I.  "I never thought of that.  What a novel thing it
would be to witness the gradual growth of a hod-carrier!  I'll make
him a little hod, now, to begin with.  He couldn't have a more
suitable toy."

"I was talking in earnest," she said.  "Take your baby, and please
carry him home as quick as you can, for I am certainly not going to
take care of him."

"Of course not," said I.  "Now that I see how it's done, I'm going
to do it myself.  Jonas will mix his feed and I will give it to
him.  He looks sleepy now.  Shall I take him upstairs and lay him
on our bed?"

"No, indeed," cried Euphemia.  "You can put him on a quilt on the
floor, until after luncheon, and then you must take him home."

I laid the young Milesian on the folded quilt which Euphemia
prepared for him, where he turned up his little pug nose to the
ceiling and went contentedly to sleep.

That afternoon I nailed four legs on a small packing-box and made a
bedstead for him.  This, with a pillow in the bottom of it, was
very comfortable, and instead of taking him home, I borrowed, in
the evening, some baby night-clothes from Pomona, and set about
preparing Pat for the night.

This Euphemia would not allow, but silently taking him from me, she
put him to bed.

"To-morrow," she said, "you must positively take him away.  I wont
stand it.  And in our room, too."

"I didn't talk in that way about the baby you adopted," I said.

To this she made no answer, but went away to attend, as usual, to
Pomona's baby, while its mother washed the dishes.

That night little Pat woke up, several times, and made things
unpleasant by his wails.  On the first two occasions, I got up and
walked him about, singing impromptu lines to the tune of "weak and
wounded," but the third time, Euphemia herself arose, and declaring
that that doleful tune was a great deal worse than the baby's
crying, silenced him herself, and arranging his couch more
comfortably, he troubled us no more.

In the morning, when I beheld the little pad of orange fur in the
box, my heart almost misgave me, but as the day wore on, my courage
rose again, and I gave myself up, almost entirely, to my new
charge, composing a vast deal of blank verse, while walking him up
and down the house.

Euphemia scolded and scolded, and said she would put on her hat and
go for the mother.  But I told her the mother was dead, and that
seemed to be an obstacle.  She took a good deal of care of the
child, for she said she would not see an innocent creature
neglected, even if it was an incipient hod-carrier, but she did not
relax in the least in her attention to Pomona's baby.

The next day was about the same, in regard to infantile incident,
but, on the day after, I began to tire of my new charge, and Pat,
on his side, seemed to be tired of me, for he turned from me when I
went to take him up, while he would hold out his hands to Euphemia,
and grin delightedly when she took him.

That morning I drove to the village and spent an hour or two there.
On my return I found Euphemia sitting in our room, with little Pat
on her lap.  I was astonished at the change in the young rascal.
He was dressed, from head to foot, in a suit of clothes belonging
to Pomona's baby; the glowing fuzz on his head was brushed and made
as smooth as possible, while his little muslin sleeves were tied up
with blue ribbon.

I stood speechless at the sight.

"Don't he look nice?" said Euphemia, standing him up on her knees.
"It shows what good clothes will do.  I'm glad I helped Pomona make
up so many.  He's getting ever so fond of me, ze itty Patsy, watsy!
See how strong he is!  He can almost stand on his legs!  Look how
he laughs!  He's just as cunning as he can be.  And oh! I was going
to speak about that box.  I wouldn't have him sleep in that old
packing-box.  There are little wicker cradles at the store--I saw
them last week--they don't cost much, and you could bring one up in
the carriage.  There's the other baby, crying, and I don't know
where Pomona is.  Just you mind him a minute, please!" and out she
ran.

I looked out of the window.  The horse still stood harnessed to the
carriage, as I had left him.  I saw Pat's old shawl lying in a
corner.  I seized it, and rolling him in it, new clothes and all, I
hurried down-stairs, climbed into the carriage, hastily disposed
Pat in my lap, and turned the horse.  The demeanor of the youngster
was very different from what it was when I first took him in my lap
to drive away with him.  There was no confiding twinkle in his eye,
no contented munching of his little fists.  He gazed up at me with
wild alarm, and as I drove out of the gate, he burst forth into
such a yell that Lord Edward came bounding around the house to see
what was the matter.  Euphemia suddenly appeared at an upper window
and called out to me, but I did not hear what she said.  I whipped
up the horse and we sped along to New Dublin.  Pat soon stopped
crying, but he looked at me with a tear-stained and reproachful
visage.

The good women of the settlement were surprised to see little Pat
return so soon.

"An' wasn't he good?" said Mrs. Hogan as she took him from my
hands.

"Oh, yes!" I said.  "He was as good as he could be.  But I have no
further need of him."

I might have been called upon to explain this statement, had not
the whole party of women, who stood around burst into wild
expressions of delight at Pat's beautiful clothes.

"Oh! jist look at 'em!" cried Mrs. Duffy.  "An' see thim leetle
pittycoots, thrimmed wid lace!  Oh, an' it was good in ye, sir, to
give him all thim, an' pay the foive dollars, too."

"An' I'm glad he's back," said the fostering aunt, "for I was a
coomin' over to till ye that I've been hearin' from owle Pat, his
dad, an' he's a coomin' back from the moines, and I don't know what
he'd a' said if he'd found his leetle Pat was rinted.  But if ye
iver want to borry him, for a whoile, after owle Pat's gone back,
ye kin have him, rint-free; an' it's much obloiged I am to ye, sir,
fur dressin' him so foine."

I made no encouraging remarks as to future transactions in this
line, and drove slowly home.

Euphemia met me at the door.  She had Pomona's baby in her arms.
We walked together into the parlor.

"And so you have given up the little fellow that you were going to
do so much for?" she said.

"Yes, I have given him up," I answered.

"It must have been a dreadful trial to you," she continued.

"Oh, dreadful!" I replied.

"I suppose you thought he would take up so much of your time and
thoughts, that we couldn't be to each other what we used to be,
didn't you?" she said.

"Not exactly," I replied.  "I only thought that things promised to
be twice as bad as they were before."

She made no answer to this, but going to the back door of the
parlor she opened it and called Pomona.  When that young woman
appeared, Euphemia stepped toward her and said: "Here, Pomona, take
your baby."

They were simple words, but they were spoken in such a way that
they meant a good deal.  Pomona knew what they meant.  Her eyes
sparkled, and as she went out, I saw her hug her child to her
breast, and cover it with kisses, and then, through the window, I
could see her running to the barn and Jonas.

"Now, then," said Euphemia, closing the door and coming toward me,
with one of her old smiles, and not a trace of preoccupation about
her, "I suppose you expect me to devote myself to you."

I did expect it, and I was not mistaken.


Since these events, a third baby has come to Rudder Grange.  It is
not Pomona's, nor was it brought from New Dublin.  It is named
after a little one, who died very young, before this story was
begun, and the strangest thing about it is that never, for a
moment, does it seem to come between Euphemia and myself.





End of The Project Gutenberg Etext Rudder Grange, by Frank R. Stockton


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