Part 2 out of 4
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
"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
"Never!" said his wife, emphatically. "I would never have allowed
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"No," said I, "it could not have been permanent. But, in many
respects, it was a delightful home. The very name of it brings
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
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.
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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
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!"
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
"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
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
I whistled for the dog as I went out, but to my surprise he did not
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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!"
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
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
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
"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
"In that wagon?" said I. "Will you stop at Mr. Ball's door in
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"The butt! the butt!" she cried, almost breathlessly. "I know
that's right! I read how Edward Everett Hale did it in the
"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
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
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
"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
"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,
"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
"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
"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 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
"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
"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
"Oh, I hope he isn't going to say we can't stay!" exclaimed
"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
"Ye-es," said he, "that's all very well, no doubt. But how's the
"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.
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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
"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
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
"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.
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
We waited, in a very disturbed condition of mind, until nearly
eleven o'clock, when old John came with a verbal message from
"She says she's a-comin' herself as soon as she can get a chance to
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
"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."