Part 1 out of 4
by Frank R. Stockton
Treating of a Novel Style of Dwelling-house
Treating of a Novel Style of Boarder
Treating of a Novel Style of Girl
Treating of a Novel Style of Burglar
Pomona Produces a Partial Revolution in Rudder Grange
The New Rudder Grange
Treating of an Unsuccessful Broker and a Dog
Pomona Once More
We Camp Out
The Boarder's Visit
Lord Edward and the Tree-man
Pomona takes a Bridal Trip
In which two New Friends disport themselves
In which an Old Friend appears, and the Bridal Trip takes a Fresh
In which we take a Vacation and look for David Dutton
The Baby at Rudder Grange
The Other Baby at Rudder Grange
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"Not at all," said I, "we can't do that. We must give up the easy-
"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
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
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
Before four o'clock our house was in order. Then we began to be
"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
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
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.
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
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
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
"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
I met several people, but none of them had seen a fugitive canal-
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
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?"
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
"Look here," said I. "Tell me the truth, I can bear it. Was that
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
"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.
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
"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,
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:
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
"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
"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
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
"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
"I don't think we have any one here who would suit you," said Mrs.
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
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,"
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
"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
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
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.
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
"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--"
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
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
I rang the bell under the boarder's name, and very soon a voice at
the tube said:
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
"Their flat is on the fifth story," said I. "He mentioned that in
his letter. We had better shut the door and go up."