Part 3 out of 4
"And so you think they're pleased with having the house to
themselves?" I said.
"Pleased, sir?" replied Pomona; "they're tickled to death."
"But how do you like having strangers telling you what to do?"
"Oh, well," said Pomona, "he's no stranger, and she's real
pleasant, and if it gives you a good camp out, I don't mind."
Euphemia and I looked at each other. Here was true allegiance. We
would remember this.
Pomona now hurried off, and we seriously discussed the matter, and
soon came to the conclusion that while it might be the truest
hospitality to let our friends stay at our house for a day or two
and enjoy themselves, still it would not do for us to allow
ourselves to be governed by a too delicate sentimentality. We must
go home and act our part of host and hostess.
Mrs. Old John had been at the camp ever since breakfast-time,
giving the place a Saturday cleaning. What she had found to occupy
her for so long a time I could not imagine, but in her efforts to
put in a full half-day's work, I have no doubt she scrubbed some of
the trees. We had been so fully occupied with our own affairs that
we had paid very little attention to her, but she had probably
heard pretty much all that had been said.
At noon we paid her (giving her, at her suggestion, something extra
in lieu of the midday meal, which she did not stay to take), and
told her to send her husband, with his wagon, as soon as possible,
as we intended to break up our encampment. We determined that we
would pack everything in John's wagon, and let him take the load to
his house, and keep it there until Monday, when I would have the
tent and accompaniments expressed to their owner. We would go home
and join our friends. It would not be necessary to say where we
It was hard for us to break up our camp. In many respects we had
enjoyed the novel experience, and we had fully expected, during the
next week, to make up for all our short-comings and mistakes. It
seemed like losing all our labor and expenditure, to break up now,
but there was no help for it. Our place was at home.
We did not wish to invite our friends to the camp. They would
certainly have come had they known we were there, but we had no
accommodations for them, neither had we any desire for even
transient visitors. Besides, we both thought that we would prefer
that our ex-boarder and his wife should not know that we were
encamped on that little peninsula.
We set to work to pack up and get ready for moving, but the
afternoon passed away without bringing old John. Between five and
six o'clock along came his oldest boy, with a bucket of water.
"I'm to go back after the milk," he said.
"Hold up!" I cried. "Where is your father and his wagon? We've
been waiting for him for hours."
"The horse is si-- I mean he's gone to Ballville for oats."
"And why didn't he send and tell me?" I asked.
"There wasn't nobody to send," answered the boy.
"You are not telling the truth," exclaimed Euphemia; "there is
always some one to send, in a family like yours."
To this the boy made no answer, but again said that he would go
after the milk.
"We want you to bring no milk," I cried, now quite angry. "I want
you to go down to the station, and tell the driver of the express-
wagon to come here immediately. Do you understand? Immediately."
The boy declared he understood, and started off quite willingly.
We did not prefer to have the express-wagon, for it was too public
a conveyance, and, besides, old John knew exactly how to do what
was required. But we need not have troubled ourselves. The
express-wagon did not come.
When it became dark, we saw that we could not leave that night.
Even if a wagon did come, it would not be safe to drive over the
fields in the darkness. And we could not go away and leave the
camp-equipage. I proposed that Euphemia should go up to the house,
while I remained in camp. But she declined. We would keep
together, whatever happened, she said.
We unpacked our cooking-utensils and provisions, and had supper.
There was no milk for our coffee, but we did not care. The evening
did not pass gayly. We were annoyed by the conduct of old John and
the express-boy, though, perhaps, it was not their fault. I had
given them no notice that I should need them.
And we were greatly troubled at the continuance of the secrecy and
subterfuge which now had become really necessary, if we did not
wish to hurt our friends' feelings.
The first thing that I thought of, when I opened my eyes in the
morning, was the fact that we would have to stay there all day, for
we could not move on Sunday.
But Euphemia did not agree with me. After breakfast (we found that
the water and the milk had been brought very early, before we were
up) she stated that she did not intend to be treated in this way.
She was going up to old John's house herself; and away she went.
In less than half an hour, she returned, followed by old John and
his wife, both looking much as if they had been whipped.
"These people," said she, "have entered into a conspiracy against
us. I have questioned them thoroughly, and have made them answer
me. The horse was at home yesterday, and the boy did not go after
the express-wagon. They thought that if they could keep us here,
until our company had gone, we would stay as long as we originally
intended, and they would continue to make money out of us. But
they are mistaken. We are going home immediately."
At this point I could not help thinking that Euphemia might have
consulted me in regard to her determination, but she was very much
in earnest, and I would not have any discussion before these
"Now, listen!" said Euphemia, addressing the down-cast couple, "we
are going home, and you two are to stay here all this day and to-
night, and take care of these things. You can't work to-day, and
you can shut up your house, and bring your whole family here if you
choose. We will pay you for the service,--although you do not
deserve a cent,--and we will leave enough here for you to eat. You
must bring your own sheets and pillowcases, and stay here until we
see you on Monday morning."
Old John and his wife agreed to this plan with the greatest
alacrity, apparently well pleased to get off so easily; and, having
locked up the smaller articles of camp-furniture, we filled a
valise with our personal baggage and started off home.
Our house and grounds never looked prettier than they did that
morning, as we stood at the gate. Lord Edward barked a welcome
from his shed, and before we reached the door, Pomona came running
out, her face radiant.
"I'm awful glad to see you back," she said; "though I'd never have
said so while you was in camp."
I patted the dog and looked into the garden. Everything was
growing splendidly. Euphemia rushed to the chicken-yard. It was
in first-rate order, and there were two broods of little yellow
Down on her knees went my wife, to pick up the little creatures,
one by one, press their downy bodies to her cheek, and call them
tootsy-wootsies, and away went I to the barn, followed by Pomona,
and soon afterward by Euphemia.
The cow was all right.
"I've been making butter," said Pomona, "though it don't look
exactly like it ought to, yet, and the skim-milk I didn't know what
to do with, so I gave it to old John. He came for it every day,
and was real mad once because I had given a lot of it to the dog,
and couldn't let him have but a pint."
"He ought to have been mad," said I to Euphemia, as we walked up to
the house. "He got ten cents a quart for that milk."
We laughed, and didn't care. We were too glad to be at home.
"But where are our friends?" I asked Pomona. We had actually
"Oh! they're gone out for a walk," said she. "They started off
right after breakfast."
We were not sorry for this. It would be so much nicer to see our
dear home again when there was nobody there but ourselves. In-
doors we rushed. Our absence had been like rain on a garden.
Everything now seemed fresher and brighter and more delightful. We
went from room to room, and seemed to appreciate better than ever
what a charming home we had.
We were so full of the delights of our return that we forgot all
about the Sunday dinner and our guests, but Pomona, whom my wife
was training to be an excellent cook, did not forget, and Euphemia
was summoned to a consultation in the kitchen.
Dinner was late; but our guests were later. We waited as long as
the state of the provisions and our appetites would permit, and
then we sat down to the table and began to eat slowly. But they
did not come. We finished our meal, and they were still absent.
We now became quite anxious, and I proposed to Euphemia that we
should go and look for them.
We started out, and our steps naturally turned toward the river.
An unpleasant thought began to crowd itself into my mind, and
perhaps the same thing happened to Euphemia, for, without saying
anything to each other, we both turned toward the path that led to
the peninsula. We crossed the field, climbed the fence, and there,
in front of the tent sat our old boarder splitting sticks with the
"Hurrah!" he cried, springing to his feet when he saw us. "How
glad I am to see you back! When did you return? Isn't this
"What?" I said, as we shook hands.
"Why this," he cried, pointing to the tent. "Don't you see? We're
"You are?" I exclaimed, looking around for his wife, while Euphemia
stood motionless, actually unable to make a remark.
"Certainly we are. It's the rarest bit of luck. My wife and Adele
will be here directly. They've gone to look for water-cresses.
But I must tell you how I came to make this magnificent find. We
started out for a walk this morning, and we happened to hit on this
place, and here we saw this gorgeous tent with nobody near but a
little tow-headed boy."
"Only a boy?" cried Euphemia.
"Yes, a young shaver of about nine or ten. I asked him what he was
doing here, and he told me that this tent belonged to a gentleman
who had gone away, and that he was here to watch it until he came
back. Then I asked him how long the owner would probably be away,
and he said he supposed for a day or two. Then a splendid idea
struck me. I offered the boy a dollar to let me take his place: I
knew that any sensible man would rather have me in charge of his
tent, than a young codger like that. The boy agreed as quick as
lightning, and I paid him and sent him off. You see how little he
was to be trusted! The owner of this tent will be under the
greatest obligations to me. Just look at it!" he cried. "Beds,
table, stove,--everything anybody could want. I've camped out lots
of times, but never had such a tent as this. I intended coming up
this afternoon after my valise, and to tell your girl where we are.
But here is my wife and little Adele."
In the midst of the salutations and the mutual surprise, Euphemia
"But you don't expect to camp out, now? You are coming back to our
"You see," said the ex-boarder, "we should never have thought of
doing anything so rude, had we supposed you would have returned so
soon. But your girl gave us to understand that you would not be
back for days, and so we felt free to go at any time; and I did not
hesitate to make this arrangement. And now that I have really
taken the responsibility of the tent and fixtures on myself, I
don't think it would be right to go away and leave the place,
especially as I don't know where to find that boy. The owner will
be back in a day or two, and I would like to explain matters to him
and give up the property in good order into his hands. And, to
tell the truth, we both adore camping-out, and we may never have
such a chance again. We can live here splendidly. I went out to
forage this morning, and found an old fellow living near by who
sold me a lot of provisions--even some coffee and sugar--and he's
to bring us some milk. We're going to have supper in about an
hour; won't you stay and take a camp-meal with us? It will be a
novelty for you, at any rate."
We declined this invitation, as we had so lately dined. I looked
at Euphemia with a question in my eye. She understood me, and
gently shook her head. It would be a shame to make any
explanations which might put an end to this bit of camp-life, which
evidently was so eagerly enjoyed by our old friend. But we
insisted that they should come up to the house and see us, and they
agreed to dine with us the next evening. On Tuesday, they must
return to the city.
"Now, this is what I call real hospitality," said the ex-boarder,
warmly grasping my hand. I could not help agreeing with him.
As we walked home, I happened to look back and saw old John going
over the fields toward the camp, carrying a little tin-pail and a
The next day, toward evening, a storm set in, and at the hour fixed
for our dinner, the rain was pouring down in such torrents that we
did not expect our guests. After dinner the rain ceased, and as we
supposed that they might not have made any preparations for a meal,
Euphemia packed up some dinner for them in a basket, and I took it
down to the camp.
They were glad to see me, and said they had a splendid time all
day. They were up before sunrise, and had explored, tramped,
boated, and I don't know what else.
My basket was very acceptable, and I would have stayed awhile with
them, but as they were obliged to eat in the tent, there was no
place for me to sit, it being too wet outside, and so I soon came
We were in doubt whether or not to tell our friends the true
history of the camp. I thought that it was not right to keep up
the deception, while Euphemia declared that if they were sensitive
people, they would feel very badly at having broken up our plans by
their visit, and then having appropriated our camp to themselves.
She thought it would be the part of magnanimity to say nothing
I could not help seeing a good deal of force in her arguments,
although I wished very much to set the thing straight, and we
discussed the matter again as we walked down to the camp, after
breakfast next morning.
There we found old John sitting on a stump. He said nothing, but
handed me a note written in lead-pencil on a card. It was from our
ex-boarder, and informed me that early that morning he had found
that there was a tug lying in the river, which would soon start for
the city. He also found that he could get passage on her for his
party, and as this was such a splendid chance to go home without
the bother of getting up to the station, he had just bundled his
family and his valise on board, and was very sorry they did not
have time to come up and bid us good-bye. The tent he left in
charge of a very respectable man, from whom he had had supplies.
That morning I had the camp-equipage packed up and expressed to its
owner. We did not care to camp out any more that season, but
thought it would be better to spend the rest of my vacation at the
Our ex-boarder wrote to us that he and his wife were anxious that
we should return their visit during my holidays; but as we did not
see exactly how we could return a visit of the kind, we did not try
to do it.
LORD EDWARD AND THE TREE-MAN.
It was winter at Rudder Grange. The season was the same at other
places, but that fact did not particularly interest Euphemia and
myself. It was winter with us, and we were ready for it. That was
the great point, and it made us proud to think that we had not been
taken unawares, notwithstanding the many things that were to be
thought of on a little farm like ours.
It is true that we had always been prepared for winter, wherever we
had lived; but this was a different case. In other days it did not
matter much whether we were ready or not; but now our house, our
cow, our poultry, and indeed ourselves, might have suffered,--there
is no way of finding out exactly how much,--if we had not made all
possible preparations for the coming of cold weather.
But there was a great deal yet to be thought of and planned out,
although we were ready for winter. The next thing to think of was
We laid out the farm. We decided where we would have wheat, corn,
potatoes, and oats. We would have a man by the day to sow and
reap. The intermediate processes I thought I could attend to
Everything was talked over, ciphered over, and freely discussed by
my wife and myself, except one matter, which I planned and worked
out alone, doing most of the necessary calculations at the office,
so as not to excite Euphemia's curiosity.
I had determined to buy a horse. This would be one of the most
important events of our married life, and it demanded a great deal
of thought, which I gave it.
The horse was chosen for me by a friend. He was an excellent beast
(the horse), excelling, as my friend told me, in muscle and wit.
Nothing better than this could be said about a horse. He was a
sorrel animal, quite handsome, gentle enough for Euphemia to drive,
and not too high-minded to do a little farm-work, if necessary. He
was exactly the animal I needed.
The carriage was not quite such a success. The horse having cost a
good deal more than I expected to pay, I found that I could only
afford a second-hand carriage. I bought a good, serviceable
vehicle, which would hold four persons, if necessary, and there was
room enough to pack all sorts of parcels and baskets. It was with
great satisfaction that I contemplated this feature of the
carriage, which was a rather rusty-looking affair, although sound
and strong enough. The harness was new, and set off the horse
On the afternoon when my purchases were completed, I did not come
home by the train. I drove home in my own carriage, drawn by my
own horse! The ten miles' drive was over a smooth road, and the
sorrel traveled splendidly. If I had been a line of kings a mile
long, all in their chariots of state, with gold and silver, and
outriders, and music, and banners waving in the wind, I could not
have been prouder than when I drew up in front of my house.
There was a wagon-gate at one side of the front fence which had
never been used except by the men who brought coal, and I got out
and opened this, very quietly, so as not to attract the attention
of Euphemia. It was earlier than I usually returned, and she would
not be expecting me. I was then about to lead the horse up a
somewhat grass-grown carriage-way to the front door, but I
reflected that Euphemia might be looking out of some of the windows
and I had better drive up. So I got in and drove very slowly to
However, she heard the unaccustomed noise of wheels, and looked out
of the parlor window. She did not see me, but immediately came
around to the door. I hurried out of the carriage so quickly that,
not being familiar with the steps, I barely escaped tripping.
When she opened the front door she was surprised to see me standing
by the horse.
"Have you hired a carriage?" she cried. "Are we going to ride?"
"My dear," said I, as I took her by the hand, "we are going to
ride. But I have not hired a carriage. I have bought one. Do you
see this horse? He is ours--our own horse."
If you could have seen the face that was turned up to me,--all you
other men in the world,--you would have torn your hair in despair.
Afterward she went around and around that horse; she patted his
smooth sides; she looked, with admiration, at his strong, well-
formed legs; she stroked his head; she smoothed his mane; she was
brimful of joy.
When I had brought the horse some water in a bucket--and what a
pleasure it was to water one's own horse!--Euphemia rushed into the
house and got her hat and cloak, and we took a little drive.
I doubt if any horse ever drew two happier people. Euphemia said
but little about the carriage. That was a necessary adjunct, and
it was good enough for the present. But the horse! How nobly and
with what vigor he pulled us up the hills and how carefully and
strongly he held the carriage back as we went down! How easily he
trotted over the level road, caring nothing for the ten miles he
had gone that afternoon! What a sensation of power it gave us to
think that all that strength and speed and endurance was ours, that
it would go where we wished, that it would wait for us as long as
we chose, that it was at our service day and night, that it was a
horse, and we owned it!
When we returned, Pomona saw us drive in,--she had not known of our
ride,--and when she heard the news she was as wild with proud
delight as anybody. She wanted to unharness him, but this I could
not allow. We did not wish to be selfish, but after she had seen
and heard what we thought was enough for her, we were obliged to
send her back to the kitchen for the sake of the dinner.
Then we unharnessed him. I say we, for Euphemia stood by and I
explained everything, for some day, she said, she might want to do
it herself. Then I led him into the stable. How nobly he trod,
and how finely his hoofs sounded on the stable floor!
There was hay in the mow and I had brought a bag of oats under the
seat of the carriage.
"Isn't it just delightful," said Euphemia, "that we haven't any
man? If we had a man he would take the horse at the door, and we
should be deprived of all this. It wouldn't be half like owning a
In the morning I drove down to the station, Euphemia by my side.
She drove back and Old John came up and attended to the horse.
This he was to do, for the present, for a small stipend. In the
afternoon Euphemia came down after me. How I enjoyed those rides!
Before this I had thought it ever so much more pleasant and
healthful to walk to and from the station than to ride, but then I
did not own a horse. At night I attended to everything, Euphemia
generally following me about the stable with a lantern. When the
days grew longer we would have delightful rides after dinner, and
even now we planned to have early breakfasts, and go to the station
by the longest possible way.
One day, in the following spring, I was riding home from the
station with Euphemia,--we seldom took pleasure-drives now, we were
so busy on the place,--and as we reached the house I heard the dog
barking savagely. He was loose in the little orchard by the side
of the house. As I drove in, Pomona came running to the carriage.
"Man up the tree!" she shouted.
I helped Euphemia out, left the horse standing by the door, and ran
to the dog, followed by my wife and Pomona. Sure enough, there was
a man up the tree, and Lord Edward was doing his best to get at
him, springing wildly at the tree and fairly shaking with rage.
I looked up at the man, he was a thoroughbred tramp, burly, dirty,
generally unkempt, but, unlike most tramps, he looked very much
frightened. His position, on a high crotch of an apple-tree, was
not altogether comfortable, and although, for the present, it was
safe, the fellow seemed to have a wavering faith in the strength of
apple-tree branches, and the moment he saw me, he earnestly
besought me to take that dog away, and let him down.
I made no answer, but turning to Pomona, I asked her what this all
"Why, sir, you see," said she, "I was in the kitchen bakin' pies,
and this fellow must have got over the fence at the side of the
house, for the dog didn't see him, and the first thing I know'd he
was stickin' his head in the window, and he asked me to give him
somethin' to eat. And when I said I'd see in a minute if there was
anything for him, he says to me, 'Gim me a piece of one of them
pies,'--pies I'd just baked and was settin' to cool on the kitchen
table! 'No, sir,' says I, 'I'm not goin' to cut one of them pies
for you, or any one like you.' 'All right!' says he. 'I'll come
in and help myself.' He must have known there was no man about,
and, comin' the way he did, he hadn't seen the dog. So he come
round to the kitchen door, but I shot out before he got there and
unchained Lord Edward. I guess he saw the dog, when he got to the
door, and at any rate he heard the chain clankin', and he didn't go
in, but just put for the gate. But Lord Edward was after him so
quick that he hadn't no time to go to no gates. It was all he
could do to scoot up this tree, and if he'd been a millionth part
of a minute later he'd 'a' been in another world by this time."
The man, who had not attempted to interrupt Pomona's speech, now
began again to implore me to let him down, while Euphemia looked
pitifully at him, and was about, I think, to intercede with me in
his favor, but my attention was drawn off from her, by the strange
conduct of the dog. Believing, I suppose, that he might leave the
tramp for a moment, now that I had arrived, he had dashed away to
another tree, where he was barking furiously, standing on his hind
legs and clawing at the trunk.
"What's the matter over there?" I asked.
"Oh, that's the other fellow," said Pomona. "He's no harm." And
then, as the tramp made a movement as if he would try to come down,
and make a rush for safety, during the absence of the dog, she
called out, "Here, boy! here, boy!" and in an instant Lord Edward
was again raging at his post, at the foot of the apple-tree.
I was grievously puzzled at all this, and walked over to the other
tree, followed, as before, by Euphemia and Pomona.
"This one," said the latter, "is a tree-man--"
"I should think so," said I, as I caught sight of a person in gray
trowsers standing among the branches of a cherry-tree not very far
from the kitchen door. The tree was not a large one, and the
branches were not strong enough to allow him to sit down on them,
although they supported him well enough, as he stood close to the
trunk just out of reach of Lord Edward.
"This is a very unpleasant position, sir," said he, when I reached
the tree. "I simply came into your yard, on a matter of business,
and finding that raging beast attacking a person in a tree, I had
barely time to get up into this tree myself, before he dashed at
me. Luckily I was out of his reach; but I very much fear I have
lost some of my property."
"No, he hasn't," said Pomona. "It was a big book he dropped. I
picked it up and took it into the house. It's full of pictures of
pears and peaches and flowers. I've been lookin' at it. That's
how I knew what he was. And there was no call for his gittin' up a
tree. Lord Edward never would have gone after him if he hadn't run
as if he had guilt on his soul."
"I suppose, then," said I, addressing the individual in the cherry-
tree, "that you came here to sell me some trees."
"Yes, sir," said he quickly, "trees, shrubs, vines, evergreens,--
everything suitable for a gentleman's country villa. I can sell
you something quite remarkable, sir, in the way of cherry-trees,--
French ones, just imported; bear fruit three times the size of
anything that could be produced on a tree like this. And pears--
fruit of the finest flavor and enormous size--"
"Yes," said Pomona. "I seen them in the book. But they must grow
on a ground-vine. No tree couldn't hold such pears as them."
Here Euphemia reproved Pomona's forwardness, and I invited the
tree-agent to get down out of the tree.
"Thank you," said he; "but not while that dog is loose. If you
will kindly chain him up, I will get my book, and show you
specimens of some of the finest small fruit in the world, all
imported from the first nurseries of Europe--the Red-gold Amber
"Oh, please let him down!" said Euphemia, her eyes beginning to
I slowly walked toward the tramp-tree, revolving various matters in
my mind. We had not spent much money on the place during the
winter, and we now had a small sum which we intended to use for the
advantage of the farm, but had not yet decided what to do with it.
It behooved me to be careful.
I told Pomona to run and get me the dog-chain, and I stood under
the tree, listening, as well as I could, to the tree-agent talking
to Euphemia, and paying no attention to the impassioned entreaties
of the tramp in the crotch above me. When the chain was brought, I
hooked one end of it in Lord Edward's collar, and then I took a
firm grasp of the other. Telling Pomona to bring the tree-agent's
book from the house, I called to that individual to get down from
his tree. He promptly obeyed, and taking the book from Pomona,
began to show the pictures to Euphemia.
"You had better hurry, sir," I called out. "I can't hold this dog
very long." And, indeed, Lord Edward had made a run toward the
agent, which jerked me very forcibly in his direction. But a
movement by the tramp had quickly brought the dog back to his more
"If you will just tie up that dog, sir," said the agent, "and come
this way, I would like to show you the Meltinagua pear,--dissolves
in the mouth like snow, sir; trees will bear next year."
"Oh, come look at the Royal Sparkling Ruby grape!" cried Euphemia.
"It glows in the sun like a gem."
"Yes," said the agent, "and fills the air with fragrance during the
whole month of September--"
"I tell you," I shouted, "I can't hold this dog another minute!
The chain is cutting the skin off my hands. Run, sir, run! I'm
going to let go!"
"Run! run!" cried Pomona. "Fly for your life!"
The agent now began to be frightened, and shut up his book.
"If you only could see the plates, sir, I'm sure--"
"Are you ready?" I cried, as the dog, excited by Pomona's wild
shouts, made a bolt in his direction.
"Good-day, if I must--" said the agent, as he hurried to the gate.
But there he stopped.
"There is nothing, sir," he said, "that would so improve your place
as a row of the Spitzenberg Sweet-scented Balsam fir along this
fence. I'll sell you three-year-old trees--"
"He's loose!" I shouted, as I dropped the chain.
In a second the agent was on the other side of the gate. Lord
Edward made a dash toward him; but, stopping suddenly, flew back to
the tree of the tramp.
"If you should conclude, sir," said the tree-agent, looking over
the fence, "to have a row of those firs along here--"
"My good sir," said I, "there is no row of firs there now, and the
fence is not very high. My dog, as you see, is very much excited
and I cannot answer for the consequences if he takes it into his
head to jump over."
The tree-agent turned and walked slowly away.
"Now, look-a-here," cried the tramp from the tree, in the voice of
a very ill-used person, "ain't you goin' to fasten up that dog, and
let me git down?"
I walked up close to the tree and addressed him.
"No," said I, "I am not. When a man comes to my place, bullies a
young girl who was about to relieve his hunger, and then boldly
determines to enter my house and help himself to my property, I
don't propose to fasten up any dog that may happen to be after him.
If I had another dog, I'd let him loose, and give this faithful
beast a rest. You can do as you please. You can come down and
have it out with the dog, or you can stay up there, until I have
had my dinner. Then I will drive down to the village and bring up
the constable, and deliver you into his hands. We want no such
fellows as you about."
With that, I unhooked the chain from Lord Edward, and walked off to
put up the horse. The man shouted after me, but I paid no
attention. I did not feel in a good humor with him.
Euphemia was much disturbed by the various occurrences of the
afternoon. She was sorry for the man in the tree; she was sorry
that the agent for the Royal Ruby grape had been obliged to go
away; and I had a good deal of trouble during dinner to make her
see things in the proper light. But I succeeded at last.
I did not hurry through dinner, and when we had finished I went to
my work at the barn. Tramps are not generally pressed for time,
and Pomona had been told to give our captive something to eat.
I was just locking the door of the carriage-house, when Pomona came
running to me to tell me that the tramp wanted to see me about
something very important--just a minute, he said. I put the key in
my pocket and walked over to the tree. It was now almost dark, but
I could see that the dog, the tramp, and the tree still kept their
"Look-a-here," said the individual in the crotch, "you don't know
how dreadful oneasy these limbs gits after you've been settin up
here as long as I have. And I don't want to have nuthin to do with
no constables. I'll tell you what I'll do if you'll chain up that
dog, and let me go, I'll fix things so that you'll not be troubled
no more by no tramps."
"How will you do that?" I asked.
"Oh, never you mind," said he. "I'll give you my word of honor
I'll do it. There's a reg'lar understandin' among us fellers, you
I considered the matter. The word of honor of a fellow such as he
was could not be worth much, but the merest chance of getting rid
of tramps should not be neglected. I went in to talk to Euphemia
about it, although I knew what she would say. I reasoned with
myself as much as with her.
"If we put this one fellow in prison for a few weeks," I said, "the
benefit is not very great. If we are freed from all tramps, for
the season, the benefit is very great. Shall we try for the
"Certainly," said Euphemia; "and his legs must be dreadfully
So I went out, and after a struggle of some minutes, I chained Lord
Edward to a post at a little distance from the apple-tree. When he
was secure, the tramp descended nimbly from his perch,
notwithstanding his stiff legs, and hurried out of the gate. He
stopped to make no remarks over the fence. With a wild howl of
disappointed ambition, Lord Edward threw himself after him. But
the chain held.
A lane of moderate length led from our house to the main road, and
the next day, as we were riding home, I noticed, on the trunk of a
large tree, which stood at the corner of the lane and road, a
curious mark. I drew up to see what it was, but we could not make
it out. It was a very rude device, cut deeply into the tree, and
somewhat resembled a square, a circle, a triangle, and a cross,
with some smaller marks beneath it. I felt sure that our tramp had
cut it, and that it had some significance, which would be
understood by the members of his fraternity.
And it must have had, for no tramps came near us all that summer.
We were visited by a needy person now and then, but by no member of
the regular army of tramps.
One afternoon, that fall, I walked home, and at the corner of the
lane I saw a tramp looking up at the mark on the tree, which was
still quite distinct.
"What does that mean?" I said, stepping up to him.
"How do I know?" said the man, "and what do you want to know fur?"
"Just out of curiosity," I said; "I have often noticed it. I think
you can tell me what it means, and if you will do so, I'll give you
"And keep mum about it?" said the man.
"Yes," I replied, taking out the dollar.
"All right!" said the tramp. "That sign means that the man that
lives up this lane is a mean, stingy cuss, with a wicked dog, and
it's no good to go there."
I handed him the dollar and went away, perfectly satisfied with my
I wish here to make some mention of Euphemia's methods of work in
her chicken-yard. She kept a book, which she at first called her
"Fowl Record," but she afterward changed the name to "Poultry
Register." I never could thoroughly understand this book, although
she has often explained every part of it to me. She had pages for
registering the age, description, time of purchase or of birth, and
subsequent performances of every fowl in her yard. She had
divisions of the book for expenses, profits, probable losses and
positive losses; she noted the number of eggs put under each
setting hen; the number of eggs cracked per day, the number
spoiled, and finally, the number hatched. Each chick, on emerging
from its shell, was registered, and an account kept of its
subsequent life and adventures. There were frequent calculations
regarding the advantages of various methods of treatment, and there
were statements of the results of a great many experiments--
something like this: "Set Toppy and her sister Pinky, April 2nd
187-; Toppy with twelve eggs,--three Brahma, four common, and five
Leghorn; Pinky with thirteen eggs (as she weighs four ounces more
than her sister), of which three were Leghorn, five common, and
five Brahma. During the twenty-second and twenty-third of April
(same year) Toppy hatched out four Brahmas, two commons, and three
Leghorns, while her sister, on these days and the morning of the
day following, hatched two Leghorns, six commons, and only one
Brahma. Now, could Toppy, who had only three Brahma eggs, and
hatched out four of that breed, have exchanged eggs with her
sister, thus making it possible for her to hatch out six common
chickens, when she only had five eggs of that kind? Or, did the
eggs get mixed up in some way before going into the possession of
the hens? Look into probabilities."
These probabilities must have puzzled Euphemia a great deal, but
they never disturbed her equanimity. She was always as tranquil
and good-humored about her poultry-yard as if every hen laid an egg
every day, and a hen-chick was hatched out of every egg.
For it may be remembered that the principle underlying Euphemia's
management of her poultry was what might be designated as the
"cumulative hatch." That is, she wished every chicken hatched in
her yard to become the mother of a brood of her own during the
year, and every one of this brood to raise another brood the next
year, and so on, in a kind of geometrical progression. This plan
called for a great many mother-fowls, and so Euphemia based her
highest hopes on a great annual preponderance of hens.
We ate a good many young roosters that fall, for Euphemia would not
allow all the products of her yard to go to market, and, also, a
great many eggs and fowls were sold. She had not contented herself
with her original stock of poultry, but had bought fowls during the
winter, and she certainly had extraordinary good luck, or else her
extraordinary system worked extraordinarily well.
It was in the latter part of August of that year that it became
necessary for some one in the office in which I was engaged to go
to St. Louis to attend to important business. Everything seemed to
point to me as the fit person, for I understood the particular
business better than any one else. I felt that I ought to go, but
I did not altogether like to do it. I went home, and Euphemia and
I talked over the matter far into the regulation sleeping-hours.
There were very good reasons why we should go (for, of course, I
would not think of taking such a journey without Euphemia). In the
first place, it would be of advantage to me, in my business
connection, to take the trip, and then it would be such a charming
journey for us. We had never been west of the Alleghanies, and
nearly all the country we would see would be new to us. We would
come home by the great lakes and Niagara, and the prospect was
delightful to both of us. But then we would have to leave Rudder
Grange for at least three weeks, and how could we do that?
This was indeed a difficult question to answer. Who could take
care of our garden, our poultry, our horse and cow, and all their
complicated belongings? The garden was in admirable condition.
Our vegetables were coming in every day in just that fresh and
satisfactory condition--altogether unknown to people who buy
vegetables--for which I had labored so faithfully, and about which
I had had so many cheerful anticipations. As to Euphemia's
chicken-yard,--with Euphemia away,--the subject was too great for
us. We did not even discuss it. But we would give up all the
pleasures of our home for the chance of this most desirable
excursion, if we could but think of some one who would come and
take care of the place while we were gone. Rudder Grange could not
run itself for three weeks.
We thought of every available person. Old John would not do. We
did not feel that we could trust him. We thought of several of our
friends; but there was, in both our minds, a certain shrinking from
the idea of handing over the place to any of them for such a length
of time. For my part, I said, I would rather leave Pomona in
charge than any one else; but, then, Pomona was young and a girl.
Euphemia agreed with me that she would rather trust her than any
one else, but she also agreed in regard to the disqualifications.
So, when I went to the office the next morning, we had fully
determined to go on the trip, if we could find some one to take
charge of our place while we were gone. When I returned from the
office in the afternoon, I had agreed to go to St. Louis. By this
time, I had no choice in the matter, unless I wished to interfere
very much with my own interests. We were to start in two days. If
in that time we could get any one to stay at the place, very well;
if not, Pomona must assume the charge. We were not able to get any
one, and Pomona did assume the charge. It is surprising how
greatly relieved we felt when we were obliged to come to this
conclusion. The arrangement was exactly what we wanted, and now
that there was no help for it, our consciences were easy.
We felt sure that there would be no danger to Pomona. Lord Edward
would be with her, and she was a young person who was
extraordinarily well able to take care of herself. Old John would
be within call in case she needed him, and I borrowed a bull-dog to
be kept in the house at night. Pomona herself was more than
satisfied with the plan.
We made out, the night before we left, a long and minute series of
directions for her guidance in household, garden and farm matters,
and directed her to keep a careful record of everything note worthy
that might occur. She was fully supplied with all the necessaries
of life, and it has seldom happened that a young girl has been left
in such a responsible and independent position as that in which we
left Pomona. She was very proud of it.
Our journey was ten times more delightful than we had expected it
would be, and successful in every way; and yet, although we enjoyed
every hour of the trip, we were no sooner fairly on our way home
than we became so wildly anxious to get there, that we reached
Rudder Grange on Wednesday, whereas we had written that we would be
home on Thursday. We arrived early in the afternoon and walked up
from the station, leaving our baggage to be sent in the express
wagon. As we approached our dear home, we wanted to run, we were
so eager to see it.
There it was, the same as ever. I lifted the gate-latch; the gate
was locked. We ran to the carriage-gate; that was locked too.
Just then I noticed a placard on the fence; it was not printed, but
the lettering was large, apparently made with ink and a brush. It
TO BE SOLD
We stood and looked at each other. Euphemia turned pale.
"What does this mean?" said I. "Has our landlord--"
I could say no more. The dreadful thought arose that the place
might pass away from us. We were not yet ready to buy it. But I
did not put the thought in words. There was a field next to our
lot, and I got over the fence and helped Euphemia over. Then we
climbed our side-fence. This was more difficult, but we
accomplished it without thinking much about its difficulties; our
hearts were too full of painful apprehensions. I hurried to the
front door; it was locked. All the lower windows were shut. We
went around to the kitchen. What surprised us more than anything
else was the absence of Lord Edward. Had HE been sold?
Before we reached the back part of the house, Euphemia said she
felt faint and must sit down. I led her to a tree near by, under
which I had made a rustic chair. The chair was gone. She sat on
the grass and I ran to the pump for some water. I looked for the
bright tin dipper which always hung by the pump. It was not there.
But I had a traveling-cup in my pocket, and as I was taking it out
I looked around me. There was an air of bareness over everything.
I did not know what it all meant, but I know that my hand trembled
as I took hold of the pump-handle and began to pump.
At the first sound of the pump-handle I heard a deep bark in the
direction of the barn, and then furiously around the corner came
Lord Edward. Before I had filled the cup he was bounding about me.
I believe the glad welcome of the dog did more to revive Euphemia
than the water. He was delighted to see us, and in a moment up
came Pomona, running from the barn. Her face was radiant, too. We
felt relieved. Here were two friends who looked as if they were
neither sold nor ruined.
Pomona quickly saw that we were ill at ease, and before I could put
a question to her, she divined the cause. Her countenance fell.
"You know," said she, "you said you wasn't comin' till to-morrow.
If you only HAD come then--I was goin' to have everything just
exactly right--an' now you had to climb in--"
And the poor girl looked as if she might cry, which would have been
a wonderful thing for Pomona to do.
"Tell me one thing," said I. "What about--those taxes?"
"Oh, that's all right," she cried. "Don't think another minute
about that. I'll tell you all about it soon. But come in first,
and I'll get you some lunch in a minute."
We were somewhat relieved by Pomona's statement that it was "all
right" in regard to the tax-poster, but we were very anxious to
know all about the matter. Pomona, however, gave us little chance
to ask her any questions. As soon as she had made ready our lunch,
she asked us, as a particular favor, to give her three-quarters of
an hour to herself, and then, said she, "I'll have everything
looking just as if it was to-morrow."
We respected her feelings, for, of course, it was a great
disappointment to her to be taken thus unawares, and we remained in
the dining-room until she appeared, and announced that she was
ready for us to go about. We availed ourselves quickly of the
privilege, and Euphemia hurried to the chicken-yard, while I bent
my steps toward the garden and barn. As I went out I noticed that
the rustic chair was in its place, and passing the pump I looked
for the dipper. It was there. I asked Pomona about the chair, but
she did not answer as quickly as was her habit.
"Would you rather," said she, "hear it all together, when you come
in, or have it in little bits, head and tail, all of a jumble?"
I called to Euphemia and asked her what she thought, and she was so
anxious to get to her chickens that she said she would much rather
wait and hear it all together. We found everything in perfect
order,--the garden was even free from weeds, a thing I had not
expected. If it had not been for that cloud on the front fence, I
should have been happy enough. Pomona had said it was all right,
but she could not have paid the taxes--however, I would wait; and I
went to the barn.
When Euphemia came in from the poultry-yard, she called me and said
she was in a hurry to hear Pomona's account of things. So I went
in, and we sat on the side porch, where it was shady, while Pomona,
producing some sheets of foolscap paper, took her seat on the upper
"I wrote down the things of any account what happened," said she,
"as you told me to, and while I was about it, I thought I'd make it
like a novel. It would be jus' as true, and p'r'aps more amusin'.
I suppose you don't mind?"
No, we didn't mind. So she went on.
"I haven't got no name for my novel. I intended to think one out
to-night. I wrote this all of nights. And I don't read the first
chapters, for they tell about my birth and my parentage and my
early adventures. I'll just come down to what happened to me while
you was away, because you'll be more anxious to hear about that.
All that's written here is true, jus' the same as if I told it to
you, but I've put it into novel language because it seems to come
easier to me."
And then, in a voice somewhat different from her ordinary tones, as
if the "novel language" demanded it, she began to read:
"Chapter Five. The Lonely house and the Faithful friend. Thus was
I left alone. None but two dogs to keep me com-pa-ny. I milk-ed
the lowing kine and water-ed and fed the steed, and then, after my
fru-gal repast, I clos-ed the man-si-on, shutting out all re-
collections of the past and also foresights into the future. That
night was a me-mor-able one. I slept soundly until the break of
morn, but had the events transpired which afterward occur-red, what
would have hap-pen-ed to me no tongue can tell. Early the next day
nothing hap-pened. Soon after breakfast, the vener-able John came
to bor-row some ker-osene oil and a half a pound of sugar, but his
attempt was foil-ed. I knew too well the in-sid-ious foe. In the
very out-set of his vil-li-an-y I sent him home with a empty can.
For two long days I wander-ed amid the ver-dant pathways of the
gar-den and to the barn, whenever and anon my du-ty call-ed me, nor
did I ere neg-lect the fowlery. No cloud o'er-spread this happy
pe-ri-od of my life. But the cloud was ri-sing in the horizon
although I saw it not.
"It was about twenty-five minutes after eleven, on the morning of a
Thursday, that I sat pondering in my mind the ques-ti-on what to do
with the butter and the veg-et-ables. Here was butter, and here
was green corn and lima-beans and trophy tomats, far more than I
ere could use. And here was a horse, idly cropping the fol-i-age
in the field, for as my employer had advis-ed and order-ed I had
put the steed to grass. And here was a wagon, none too new, which
had it the top taken off, or even the curtains roll-ed up, would do
for a li-cen-ced vender. With the truck and butter, and mayhap
some milk, I could load that wagon--"
"O, Pomona," interrupted Euphemia. "You don't mean to say that you
were thinking of doing anything like that?"
"Well, I was just beginning to think of it," said Pomona, "but of
course I couldn't have gone away and left the house. And you'll
see I didn't do it." And then she continued her novel. "But while
my thoughts were thus employ-ed, I heard Lord Edward burst into
At this Euphemia and I could not help bursting into laughter.
Pomona did not seem at all confused, but went on with her reading.
"I hurried to the door, and, look-ing out, I saw a wagon at the
gate. Re-pair-ing there, I saw a man. Said he, 'Wilt open this
gate?' I had fasten-ed up the gates and remov-ed every steal-able
ar-ticle from the yard."
Euphemia and I looked at each other. This explained the absence of
the rustic seat and the dipper.
"Thus, with my mind at ease, I could let my faith-ful fri-end, the
dog (for he it was), roam with me through the grounds, while the
fi-erce bull-dog guard-ed the man-si-on within. Then said I, quite
bold, unto him, 'No. I let in no man here. My em-ploy-er and
employ-er-ess are now from home. What do you want?' Then says he,
as bold as brass, 'I've come to put the light-en-ing rods upon the
house. Open the gate.' 'What rods?' says I. 'The rods as was
ordered,' says he, 'open the gate.' I stood and gaz-ed at him.
Full well I saw through his pinch-beck mask. I knew his tricks.
In the ab-sence of my em-ployer, he would put up rods, and ever so
many more than was wanted, and likely, too, some miser-able trash
that would attrack the light-ening, instead of keep-ing it off.
Then, as it would spoil the house to take them down, they would be
kept, and pay demand-ed. 'No, sir,' says I. 'No light-en-ing rods
upon this house whilst I stand here,' and with that I walk-ed away,
and let Lord Edward loose. The man he storm-ed with pas-si-on.
His eyes flash-ed fire. He would e'en have scal-ed the gate, but
when he saw the dog he did forbear. As it was then near noon, I
strode away to feed the fowls; but when I did return, I saw a sight
which froze the blood with-in my veins--"
"The dog didn't kill him?" cried Euphemia.
"Oh no, ma'am!" said Pomona. "You'll see that that wasn't it. At
one corn-er of the lot, in front, a base boy, who had accompa-ni-ed
this man, was bang-ing on the fence with a long stick, and thus
attrack-ing to hisself the rage of Lord Edward, while the vile
intrig-er of a light-en-ing rod-der had brought a lad-der to the
other side of the house, up which he had now as-cend-ed, and was on
the roof. What horrors fill-ed my soul! How my form trembl-ed!
This," continued Pomona, "is the end of the novel," and she laid
her foolscap pages on the porch.
Euphemia and I exclaimed, with one voice, against this. We had
just reached the most exciting part, and, I added, we had heard
nothing yet about that affair of the taxes.
"You see, sir," said Pomona, "it took me so long to write out the
chapters about my birth, my parentage, and my early adventures,
that I hadn't time to finish up the rest. But I can tell you what
happened after that jus' as well as if I had writ it out." And so
she went on, much more glibly than before, with the account of the
doings of the lightning-rod man.
"There was that wretch on top of the house, a-fixin' his old rods
and hammerin' away for dear life. He'd brought his ladder over the
side fence, where the dog, a-barkin' and plungin' at the boy
outside, couldn't see him. I stood dumb for a minute, an' then I
know'd I had him. I rushed into the house, got a piece of well-
rope, tied it to the bull-dog's collar, an' dragged him out and
fastened him to the bottom rung of the ladder. Then I walks over
to the front fence with Lord Edward's chain, for I knew that if he
got at that bull-dog there'd be times, for they'd never been
allowed to see each other yet. So says I to the boy, 'I'm goin' to
tie up the dog, so you needn't be afraid of his jumpin' over the
fence,'--which he couldn't do, or the boy would have been a corpse
for twenty minutes, or may be half an hour. The boy kinder
laughed, and said I needn't mind, which I didn't. Then I went to
the gate, and I clicked to the horse which was standin' there, an'
off he starts, as good as gold, an' trots down the road. The boy,
he said somethin' or other pretty bad, an' away he goes after him;
but the horse was a-trottin' real fast, an' had a good start."
"How on earth could you ever think of doing such things?" said
Euphemia. "That horse might have upset the wagon and broken all
the lightning-rods, besides running over I don't know how many
"But you see, ma'am, that wasn't my lookout," said Pomona. "I was
a-defendin' the house, and the enemy must expect to have things
happen to him. So then I hears an awful row on the roof, and there
was the man just coming down the ladder. He'd heard the horse go
off, and when he got about half-way down an' caught a sight of the
bull-dog, he was madder than ever you seed a lightnin'-rodder in
all your born days. 'Take that dog off of there!' he yelled at me.
'No, I wont, says I. 'I never see a girl like you since I was
born,' he screams at me. 'I guess it would 'a' been better fur you
if you had,' says I; an' then he was so mad he couldn't stand it
any longer, and he comes down as low as he could, and when he saw
just how long the rope was,--which was pretty short,--he made a
jump, and landed clear of the dog. Then he went on dreadful
because he couldn't get at his ladder to take it away; and I
wouldn't untie the dog, because if I had he'd 'a' torn the tendons
out of that fellow's legs in no time. I never see a dog in such a
boiling passion, and yet never making no sound at all but blood-
curdlin' grunts. An' I don't see how the rodder would 'a' got his
ladder at all if the dog hadn't made an awful jump at him, and
jerked the ladder down. It just missed your geranium-bed, and the
rodder, he ran to the other end of it, and began pullin' it away,
dog an' all. 'Look-a-here,' says I, 'we can fix him now; and so he
cooled down enough to help me, and I unlocked the front door, and
we pushed the bottom end of the ladder in, dog and all; an' then I
shut the door as tight as it would go, an' untied the end of the
rope, an' the rodder pulled the ladder out while I held the door to
keep the dog from follerin', which he came pretty near doin',
anyway. But I locked him in, and then the man began stormin' again
about his wagon; but when he looked out an' see the boy comin' back
with it,--for somebody must 'a' stopped the horse,--he stopped
stormin' and went to put up his ladder ag'in. 'No, you don't,'
says I; 'I'll let the big dog loose next time, and if I put him at
the foot of your ladder, you'll never come down.' 'But I want to
go and take down what I put up,' he says; 'I aint a-goin' on with
this job.' ' No,' says I, 'you aint; and you can't go up there to
wrench off them rods and make rain-holes in the roof, neither.' He
couldn't get no madder than he was then, an' fur a minute or two he
couldn't speak, an' then he says, 'I'll have satisfaction for
this.' An' says I, 'How? 'An' says he, 'You'll see what it is to
interfere with a ordered job.' An' says I, 'There wasn't no order
about it;' an' says he, 'I'll show you better than that;' an' he
goes to his wagon an' gits a book. 'There,' says he, 'read that.'
'What of it? 'says I 'there's nobody of the name of Ball lives
here.' That took the man kinder aback, and he said he was told it
was the only house on the lane, which I said was right, only it was
the next lane he oughter 'a' gone to. He said no more after that,
but just put his ladder in his wagon, and went off. But I was not
altogether rid of him. He left a trail of his baleful presence
"That horrid bull-dog wouldn't let me come into the house! No
matter what door I tried, there he was, just foamin' mad. I let
him stay till nearly night, and then went and spoke kind to him;
but it was no good. He'd got an awful spite ag'in me. I found
something to eat down cellar, and I made a fire outside an' roasted
some corn and potatoes. That night I slep' in the barn. I wasn't
afraid to be away from the house, for I knew it was safe enough,
with that dog in it and Lord Edward outside. For three days,
Sunday an' all, I was kep' out of this here house. I got along
pretty well with the sleepin' and the eatin', but the drinkin' was
the worst. I couldn't get no coffee or tea; but there was plenty
"Why didn't you get some man to come and attend to the dog?" I
asked. "It was dreadful to live that way."
"Well, I didn't know no man that could do it," said Pomona. "The
dog would 'a' been too much for Old John, and besides, he was mad
about the kerosene. Sunday afternoon, Captain Atkinson and Mrs.
Atkinson and their little girl in a push-wagon, come here, and I
told 'em you was gone away; but they says they would stop a minute,
and could I give them a drink; an' I had nothin' to give it to them
but an old chicken-bowl that I had washed out, for even the dipper
was in the house, an' I told 'em everything was locked up, which
was true enough, though they must 'a' thought you was a queer kind
of people; but I wasn't a-goin' to say nothin' about the dog, fur,
to tell the truth, I was ashamed to do it. So as soon as they'd
gone, I went down into the cellar,--and it's lucky that I had the
key for the outside cellar door,--and I got a piece of fat corn-
beef and the meat-axe. I unlocked the kitchen door and went in,
with the axe in one hand and the meat in the other. The dog might
take his choice. I know'd he must be pretty nigh famished, for
there was nothin' that he could get at to eat. As soon as I went
in, he came runnin' to me; but I could see he was shaky on his
legs. He looked a sort of wicked at me, and then he grabbed the
meat. He was all right then."
"Oh, my!" said Euphemia, "I am so glad to hear that. I was afraid
you never got in. But we saw the dog--is he as savage yet?"
"Oh no!" said Pomona; "nothin' like it."
"Look here, Pomona," said I, "I want to know about those taxes.
When do they come into your story?"
"Pretty soon, sir," said she, and she went on:
"After that, I know'd it wouldn't do to have them two dogs so that
they'd have to be tied up if they see each other. Just as like as
not I'd want them both at once, and then they'd go to fightin', and
leave me to settle with some blood-thirsty lightnin'-rodder. So,
as I know'd if they once had a fair fight and found out which was
master, they'd be good friends afterwards, I thought the best thing
to do would be to let 'em fight it out, when there was nothin' else
for 'em to do. So I fixed up things for the combat."
"Why, Pomona!" cried Euphemia, "I didn't think you were capable of
such a cruel thing."
"It looks that way, ma'am, but really it aint," replied the girl.
"It seemed to me as if it would be a mercy to both of 'em to have
the thing settled. So I cleared away a place in front of the wood-
shed and unchained Lord Edward, and then I opened the kitchen door
and called the bull. Out he came, with his teeth a-showin', and
his blood-shot eyes, and his crooked front legs. Like lightnin'
from the mount'in blast, he made one bounce for the big dog, and
oh! what a fight there was! They rolled, they gnashed, they
knocked over the wood-horse and sent chips a-flyin' all ways at
wonst. I thought Lord Edward would whip in a minute or two; but he
didn't, for the bull stuck to him like a burr, and they was havin'
it, ground and lofty, when I hears some one run up behind me, and
turnin' quick, there was the 'Piscopalian minister, 'My! my! my!'
he hollers; 'what a awful spectacle! Aint there no way of stoppin'
it?' ' No, sir,' says I, and I told him how I didn't want to stop
it, and the reason why. Then says he, 'Where's your master?' and I
told him how you was away. 'Isn't there any man at all about?'
says he. 'No,' says I. 'Then,' says he, 'if there's nobody else
to stop it, I must do it myself.' An' he took off his coat. 'No,'
says I, 'you keep back, sir. If there's anybody to plunge into
that erena, the blood be mine;' an' I put my hand, without
thinkin', ag'in his black shirt-bosom, to hold him back; but he
didn't notice, bein' so excited. 'Now,' says I, 'jist wait one
minute, and you'll see that bull's tail go between his legs. He's
weakenin'.' An' sure enough, Lord Edward got a good grab at him,
and was a-shakin' the very life out of him, when I run up and took
Lord Edward by the collar. 'Drop it!' says I, and he dropped it,
for he know'd he'd whipped, and he was pretty tired hisself. Then
the bull-dog, he trotted off with his tail a-hangin' down. 'Now,
then,' says I, 'them dogs will be bosom friends forever after
this.' 'Ah me!' says he, 'I'm sorry indeed that your employer, for
who I've always had a great respect, should allow you to get into
such habits.' That made me feel real bad, and I told him, mighty
quick, that you was the last man in the world to let me do anything
like that, and that, if you'd 'a' been here, you'd 'a' separated
them dogs, if they'd a-chawed your arms off; that you was very
particular about such things; and that it would be a pity if he was
to think you was a dog-fightin' gentleman, when I'd often heard you
say that, now you was fixed an' settled, the one thing you would
like most would be to be made a vestryman."
I sat up straight in my chair.
"Pomona!" I exclaimed, "you didn't tell him that?"
"That's what I said, sir, for I wanted him to know what you really
was; an' he says, 'Well, well, I never knew that. It might be a
very good thing. I'll speak to some of the members about it.
There's two vacancies now in our vestry."
I was crushed; but Euphemia tried to put the matter into the
"Perhaps it may all turn out for the best," she said, "and you may
be elected, and that would be splendid. But it would be an awfully
funny thing for a dog-fight to make you a vestry-man."
I could not talk on this subject. "Go on, Pomona," I said, trying
to feel resigned to my shame, "and tell us about that poster on the
"I'll be to that almost right away," she said. "It was two or
three days after the dog-fight that I was down at the barn, and
happenin' to look over to Old John's, I saw that tree-man there.
He was a-showin' his book to John, and him and his wife and all the
young ones was a-standin' there, drinkin' down them big peaches and
pears as if they was all real. I know'd he'd come here ag'in, for
them fellers never gives you up; and I didn't know how to keep him
away, for I didn't want to let the dogs loose on a man what, after
all, didn't want to do no more harm than to talk the life out of
you. So I just happened to notice, as I came to the house, how
kind of desolate everything looked, and I thought perhaps I might
make it look worse, and he wouldn't care to deal here. So I
thought of puttin' up a poster like that, for nobody whose place
was a-goin' to be sold for taxes would be likely to want trees. So
I run in the house, and wrote it quick and put it up. And sure
enough, the man he come along soon, and when he looked at that
paper, and tried the gate, an' looked over the fence an' saw the
house all shut up an' not a livin' soul about,--for I had both the
dogs in the house with me,--he shook his head an' walked off, as
much as to say, 'If that man had fixed his place up proper with my
trees, he wouldn't 'a' come to this!' An' then, as I found the
poster worked so good, I thought it might keep other people from
comin' a-botherin' around, and so I left it up; but I was a-goin'
to be sure and take it down before you came."
As it was now pretty late in the afternoon, I proposed that Pomona
should postpone the rest of her narrative until evening. She said
that there was nothing else to tell that was very particular; and I
did not feel as if I could stand anything more just now, even if it
was very particular.
When we were alone, I said to Euphemia:
"If we ever have to go away from this place again--"
"But we wont go away," she interrupted, looking up to me with as
bright a face as she ever had, "at least not for a long, long, long
time to come. And I'm so glad you're to be a vestryman."
POMONA TAKES A BRIDAL TRIP.
Our life at Rudder Grange seemed to be in no way materially changed
by my becoming a vestryman. The cow gave about as much milk as
before, and the hens laid the usual number of eggs. Euphemia went
to church with a little more of an air, perhaps, but as the wardens
were never absent, and I was never, therefore, called upon to
assist in taking up the collection, her sense of my position was
not inordinately manifested.
For a year or two, indeed, there was no radical change in anything
about Rudder Grange, except in Pomona. In her there was a change.
She grew up.
She performed this feat quite suddenly. She was a young girl when
she first came to us, and we had never considered her as anything
else, when one evening she had a young man to see her. Then we
knew she had grown up.
We made no objections to her visitors,--she had several, from time
to time,--"for," said Euphemia, "suppose my parents had objected to
your visits." I could not consider the mere possibility of
anything like this, and we gave Pomona all the ordinary
opportunities for entertaining her visitors. To tell the truth, I
think we gave her more than the ordinary opportunities. I know
that Euphemia would wait on herself to almost any extent, rather
than call upon Pomona, when the latter was entertaining an evening
visitor in the kitchen or on the back porch.
"Suppose my mother," she once remarked, in answer to a mild
remonstrance from me in regard to a circumstance of this nature,--
"suppose my mother had rushed into our presence when we were
plighting our vows, and had told me to go down into the cellar and
It was of no use to talk to Euphemia on such subjects; she always
had an answer ready.
"You don't want Pomona to go off and be married, do you?" I asked,
one day as she was putting up some new muslin curtains in the
kitchen. "You seem to be helping her to do this all you can, and
yet I don't know where on earth you will get another girl who will
suit you so well."
"I don't know, either," replied Euphemia, with a tack in her mouth,
and I'm sure I don't want her to go. But neither do I want winter
to come, or to have to wear spectacles; but I suppose both of these
things will happen, whether I like it or not."
For some time after this Pomona had very little company, and we
began to think that there was no danger of any present matrimonial
engagement on her part,--a thought which was very gratifying to us,
although we did not wish in any way to interfere with her
prospects,--when, one afternoon, she quietly went up into the
village and was married.
Her husband was a tall young fellow, a son of a farmer in the
county, who had occasionally been to see her, but whom she must
have frequently met on her "afternoons out."
When Pomona came home and told us this news we were certainly well
"What on earth are we to do for a girl?" cried Euphemia.
"You're to have me till you can get another one," said Pomona
quietly. "I hope you don't think I'd go 'way, and leave you
"But a wife ought to go to her husband," said Euphemia, "especially
so recent a bride. Why didn't you let me know all about it? I
would have helped to fit you out. We would have given you the
nicest kind of a little wedding."
"I know that," said Pomona; "you're jus' good enough. But I didn't
want to put you to all that trouble--right in preserving-time too.
An' he wanted it quiet, for he's awful backward about shows. An'
as I'm to go to live with his folks,--at least in a little house on
the farm,--I might as well stay here as anywhere, even if I didn't
want to, for I can't go there till after frost."
"Why not?" I asked.
"The chills and fever," said she. "They have it awful down in that
valley. Why, he had a chill while we was bein' married, right at
the bridal altar."
"You don't say so!" exclaimed Euphemia. "How dreadful!"
"Yes, indeed," said Pomona. "He must 'a' forgot it was his chill-
day, and he didn't take his quinine, and so it come on him jus' as
he was apromisin' to love an' pertect. But he stuck it out, at the
minister's house, and walked home by his-self to finish his chill."
"And you didn't go with him?" cried Euphemia, indignantly.
"He said, no. It was better thus. He felt it weren't the right
thing to mingle the agur with his marriage vows. He promised to
take sixteen grains to-morrow, and so I came away. He'll be all
right in a month or so, an' then we'll go an' keep house. You see
it aint likely I could help him any by goin' there an' gettin' it
"Pomona," said Euphemia, "this is dreadful. You ought to go and
take a bridal tour and get him rid of those fearful chills."
"I never thought of that," said Pomona, her face lighting up
Now that Euphemia had fallen upon this happy idea, she never
dropped it until she had made all the necessary plans, and had put
them into execution. In the course of a week she had engaged
another servant, and had started Pomona and her husband off on a
bridal-tour, stipulating nothing but that they should take plenty
of quinine in their trunk.
It was about three weeks after this, and Euphemia and I were
sitting on our front steps,--I had come home early, and we had been
potting some of the tenderest plants,--when Pomona walked in at the
gate. She looked well, and had on a very bright new dress.
Euphemia noticed this the moment she came in. We welcomed her
warmly, for we felt a great interest in this girl, who had grown up
in our family and under our care.
"Have you had your bridal trip?" asked Euphemia.
"Oh yes!" said Pomona. "It's all over an' done with, an' we're
settled in our house."
"Well, sit right down here on the steps and tell us all about it,"
said Euphemia, in a glow of delightful expectancy, and Pomona,
nothing loth, sat down and told her tale.
"You see," said she, untying her bonnet strings, to give an easier
movement to her chin, "we didn't say where we was goin' when we
started out, for the truth was we didn't know. We couldn't afford
to take no big trip, and yet we wanted to do the thing up jus' as
right as we could, seein' as you had set your heart on it, an' as
we had, too, for that matter. Niagery Fall was what I wanted, but
he said that it cost so much to see the sights there that he hadn't
money to spare to take us there an' pay for all the sight-seein',
too. We might go, he said, without seein' the sights, or, if there
was any way of seein' the sights without goin', that might do, but
he couldn't do both. So we give that up, and after thinkin' a good
deal, we agreed to go to some other falls, which might come
cheaper, an' may-be be jus' as good to begin on. So we thought of
Passaic Falls, up to Paterson, an' we went there, an' took a room
at a little hotel, an' walked over to the falls. But they wasn't
no good, after all, for there wasn't no water runnin' over em.
There was rocks and precipicers, an' direful depths, and everything
for a good falls, except water, and that was all bein' used at the
mills. 'Well, Miguel,' says I, 'this is about as nice a place for
a falls as ever I see,' but--"
"Miguel!" cried Euphemia. "Is that your husband's name?"
"Well, no," said Pomona, "it isn't. His given name is Jonas, but I
hated to call him Jonas, an' on a bridal trip, too. He might jus'
as well have had a more romantic-er name, if his parents had 'a'
thought of it. So I determined I'd give him a better one, while we
was on our journey, anyhow, an' I changed his name to Miguel, which
was the name of a Spanish count. He wanted me to call him Jiguel,
because, he said, that would have a kind of a floating smell of his
old name, but I didn't never do it. Well, neither of us didn't
care to stay about no dry falls, so we went back to the hotel and
got our supper, and begun to wonder what we should do next day. He
said we'd better put it off and dream about it, and make up our
minds nex' mornin', which I agreed to, an', that evenin', as we was
sittin' in our room I asked Miguel to tell me the story of his
life. He said, at first, it hadn't none, but when I seemed a
kinder put out at this, he told me I mustn't mind, an' he would
reveal the whole. So he told me this story:
"'My grandfather,' said he, 'was a rich and powerful Portugee, a-
livin' on the island of Jamaica. He had heaps o' slaves, an' owned
a black brigantine, that he sailed in on secret voyages, an', when
he come back, the decks an' the gunnels was often bloody, but
nobody knew why or wherefore. He was a big man with black hair an'
very violent. He could never have kept no help, if he hadn't owned
'em, but he was so rich, that people respected him, in spite of all
his crimes. My grandmother was a native o' the Isle o' Wight. She
was a frail an' tender woman, with yeller hair, and deep blue eyes,
an' gentle, an' soft, an' good to the poor. She used to take
baskits of vittles aroun' to sick folks, an' set down on the side
o' their beds an' read "The Shepherd o' Salisbury Plains" to 'em.
She hardly ever speaked above her breath, an' always wore white
gowns with a silk kerchief a-folded placidly aroun' her neck.'
'Them was awful different kind o' people,' I says to him, 'I wonder
how they ever come to be married.' 'They never was married,' says
he. 'Never married!' I hollers, a-jumpin' up from my chair, 'and
you sit there carmly an' look me in the eye.' 'Yes,' says he,
'they was never married. They never met; one was my mother's
father, and the other one my father's mother. 'Twas well they did
not wed.' 'I should think so,' said I, 'an' now, what's the good
of tellin' me a thing like that?'
"'It's about as near the mark as most of the stories of people's
lives, I reckon,' says he, 'an' besides I'd only jus' begun it.'
"'Well, I don't want no more,' says I, an' I jus' tell this story
of his to show what kind of stories he told about that time. He
said they was pleasant fictions, but I told him that if he didn't
look out he'd hear 'em called by a good deal of a worse kind of a
name than that. The nex' mornin' he asked me what was my dream,
an' I told him I didn't have exactly no dream about it, but my idea
was to have somethin' real romantic for the rest of our bridal
"'Well,' says he, 'what would you like? I had a dream, but it
wasn't no ways romantic, and I'll jus' fall in with whatever you'd
"'All right,' says I, 'an' the most romantic-est thing that I can
think of is for us to make-believe for the rest of this trip. We
can make-believe we're anything we please, an' if we think so in
real earnest it will be pretty much the same thing as if we really
was. We aint likely to have no chance ag'in of being jus' what
we've a mind to, an' so let's try it now.'
"'What would you have a mind to be?' says he.
"'Well,' says I, 'let's be an earl an' a earl-ess.'
"'Earl-ess'? says he, 'there's no such a person.'
"'Why, yes there is, of course,' I says to him. 'What's a she-earl
if she isn't a earl-ess?'
"'Well, I don't know,' says he, 'never havin' lived with any of
'em, but we'll let it go at that. An' how do you want to work the
"'This way,' says I. 'You, Miguel--'
"'Jiguel,' says he.
"'The earl,' says I, not mindin' his interruption, 'an' me, your
noble earl-ess, will go to some good place or other--it don't
matter much jus' where, and whatever house we live in we'll call
our castle an' we'll consider it's got draw-bridges an'
portcullises an' moats an' secrit dungeons, an' we'll remember our
noble ancesters, an' behave accordin'. An' the people we meet we
can make into counts and dukes and princes, without their knowin'
anything about it; an' we can think our clothes is silk an' satin
an' velwet, all covered with dimuns an' precious stones, jus' as
well as not.'
"'Jus' as well,' says he.
"'An' then,' I went on, 'we can go an' have chi-VAL-rous
adventures,--or make believe we're havin' 'em,--an' build up a
atmosphere of romanticness aroun' us that'll carry us back--'
"'To ole Virginny,' says he.
"'No,' says I, 'for thousands of years, or at least enough back for
the times of tournaments and chi-VAL-ry.'
"'An' so your idea is that we make believe all these things, an'
don't pay for none of 'em, is it?' says he.
"'Yes,' says I; 'an' you, Miguel--'
"'Jiguel,' says he.
"'Can ask me, if you don't know what chi-VAL-ric or romantic thing
you ought to do or to say so as to feel yourself truly an' reely a
earl, for I've read a lot about these people, an' know jus' what
ought to be did.'
"Well, he set himself down an' thought a while, an' then he says,
'All right. We'll do that, an' we'll begin to-morrow mornin', for
I've got a little business to do in the city which wouldn't be
exactly the right thing for me to stoop to after I'm a earl, so
I'll go in an' do it while I'm a common person, an' come back this
afternoon, an you can walk about an' look at the dry falls, an'
amuse yourself gen'rally, till I come back.'
"'All right,' says I, an' off he goes.
"He come back afore dark, an' the nex' mornin' we got ready to
"'Have you any particular place to go?' says he.
"'No,' says I, 'one place is as likely to be as good as another for
our style o' thing. If it don't suit, we can imagine it does.'
"'That'll do,' says he, an' we had our trunk sent to the station,
and walked ourselves. When we got there, he says to me,
"Which number will you have, five or seven?'
"'Either one will suit me, Earl Miguel,' says I.
"'Jiguel,' says he, 'an' we'll make it seven. An' now I'll go an'
look at the time-table, an' we'll buy tickets for the seventh
station from here. The seventh station,' says he, comin' back, 'is
Pokus. We'll go to Pokus.'
"So when the train come we got in, an' got out at Pokus. It was a
pretty sort of a place, out in the country, with the houses
scattered a long ways apart, like stingy chicken-feed.
"'Let's walk down this road,' says he, 'till we come to a good
house for a castle, an' then we can ask 'em to take us to board,
an' if they wont do it we'll go to the next, an' so on.'
"'All right,' says I, glad enough to see how pat he entered into
"We walked a good ways, an' passed some little houses that neither
of us thought would do, without more imaginin' than would pay, till
we came to a pretty big house near the river, which struck our
fancy in a minute. It was a stone house, an' it had trees aroun'
it, there was a garden with a wall, an' things seemed to suit
first-rate, so we made up our minds right off that we'd try this
"'You wait here under this tree,' says he, 'an' I'll go an' ask 'em
if they'll take us to board for a while.'
"So I waits, an' he goes up to the gate, an' pretty soon he comes
out an' says, 'All right, they'll take us, an' they'll send a man
with a wheelbarrer to the station for our trunk.' So in we goes.
The man was a country-like lookin' man, an' his wife was a very
pleasant woman. The house wasn't furnished very fine, but we
didn't care for that, an' they gave us a big room that had rafters
instid of a ceilin', an' a big fire-place, an' that, I said, was
jus' exac'ly what we wanted. The room was almos' like a donjon
itself, which he said he reckoned had once been a kitchin, but I
told him that a earl hadn't nothin' to do with kitchins, an' that
this was a tapestry chamber, an' I'd tell him all about the strange
figgers on the embroidered hangin's, when the shadders begun to
"It rained a little that afternoon, an' we stayed in our room, an'
hung our clothes an' things about on nails an' hooks, an' made
believe they was armor an' ancient trophies an' portraits of a long
line of ancesters. I did most of the make-believin' but he agreed
to ev'rything. The man who kep' the house's wife brought us our
supper about dark, because she said she thought we might like to
have it together cozy, an' so we did, an' was glad enough of it;
an' after supper we sat before the fire-place, where we made-
believe the flames was a-roarin' an' cracklin' an' a-lightin' up
the bright places on the armor a-hangin' aroun', while the storm--
which we made-believe--was a-ragin' an' whirlin' outside. I told
him a long story about a lord an' a lady, which was two or three
stories I had read, run together, an' we had a splendid time. It
all seemed real real to me."
IN WHICH TWO NEW FRIENDS DISPORT THEMSELVES.
"The nex' mornin' was fine an' nice," continued Pomona, "an' after
our breakfast had been brought to us, we went out in the grounds to
take a walk. There was lots of trees back of the house, with walks
among 'em, an' altogether it was so ole-timey an' castleish that I
was as happy as a lark.
"'Come along, Earl Miguel,' I says; 'let us tread a measure 'neath
these mantlin' trees.'
"'All right,' says he. 'Your Jiguel attends you. An' what might
our noble second name be? What is we earl an' earl-ess of?'
"'Oh, anything,' says I. 'Let's take any name at random.'
"'All right,' says he. 'Let it be random. Earl an' Earl-ess
Random. Come along.'
"So we walks about, I feelin' mighty noble an' springy, an' afore
long we sees another couple a-walkin' about under the trees.
"'Who's them?' says I.
"'Don't know,' says he, 'but I expect they're some o' the other
boarders. The man said he had other boarders when I spoke to him
about takin' us.'
"'Let's make-believe they're a count an' count says I. 'Count an'
"'Milwaukee,' says he.
"I didn't think much of this for a noble name, but still it would
do well enough, an' so we called 'em the Count an' Countess of
Milwaukee, an' we kep' on a meanderin'. Pretty soon he gets tired
an' says he was agoin' back to the house to have a smoke because he
thought it was time to have a little fun which weren't all
imaginations, an' I says to him to go along, but it would be the
hardest thing in this world for me to imagine any fun in smokin'.
He laughed an' went back, while I walked on, a-makin'-believe a
page, in blue puffed breeches, was a-holdin' up my train, which was
of light-green velvet trimmed with silver lace. Pretty soon,
turnin' a little corner, I meets the Count and Countess of
Milwaukee. She was a small lady, dressed in black, an' he was a
big fat man about fifty years old, with a grayish beard. They both
wore little straw hats, exac'ly alike, an' had on green carpet-
"They stops when they sees me, an' the lady she bows and says
'good-mornin',' an' then she smiles, very pleasant, an' asks if I
was a-livin' here, an' when I said I was, she says she was too, for
the present, an' what was my name. I had half a mind to say the
Earl-ess Random, but she was so pleasant and sociable that I didn't
like to seem to be makin' fun, an' so I said I was Mrs. De
"'An' I,' says she, 'am Mrs. General Andrew Jackson, widow of the
ex-President of the United States. I am staying here on business
connected with the United States Bank. This is my brother,' says
she, pointin' to the big man.
"'How d'ye do?' says he, a-puttin' his hands together, turnin' his
toes out an' makin' a funny little bow. 'I am General Tom Thumb,'
he says in a deep, gruff voice, 'an' I've been before all the
crown-ed heads of Europe, Asia, Africa, America an' Australia,--all
a's but one,--an' I'm waitin' here for a team of four little milk-
white oxen, no bigger than tall cats, which is to be hitched to a
little hay-wagon, which I am to ride in, with a little pitch-fork
an' real farmer's clothes, only small. This will come to-morrow,
when I will pay for it an' ride away to exhibit. It may be here
now, an' I will go an' see. Good-bye.'
"'Good-bye, likewise,' says the lady. 'I hope you'll have all
you're thinkin' you're havin', an' more too, but less if you'd like
it. Farewell.' An' away they goes.
"Well, you may be sure, I stood there amazed enough, an' mad too
when I heard her talk about my bein' all I was a-thinkin' I was. I
was sure my husband--scarce two weeks old, a husband--had told all.
It was too bad. I wished I had jus' said I was the Earl-ess of
Random an' brassed it out.
"I rushed back an' foun' him smokin' a pipe on a back porch. I
charged him with his perfidy, but he vowed so earnest that he had
not told these people of our fancies, or ever had spoke to 'em,
that I had to believe him.
"'I expec',' says he, 'that they're jus' makin'-believe--as we are.
There aint no patent on make-believes.'
"This didn't satisfy me, an' as he seemed to be so careless about
it I walked away, an' left him to his pipe. I determined to go
take a walk along some of the country roads an' think this thing
over for myself. I went aroun' to the front gate, where the woman
of the house was a-standin' talkin' to somebody, an' I jus' bowed
to her, for I didn't feel like sayin' anything, an' walked past
"'Hello!' said she, jumpin' in front of me an' shuttin' the gate.
'You can't go out here. If you want to walk you can walk about in
the grounds. There's lots of shady paths.'
"'Can't go out!' says I. 'Can't go out! What do you mean by
"'I mean jus' what I say,' said she, an' she locked the gate.
"I was so mad that I could have pushed her over an' broke the gate,
but I thought that if there was anything of that kind to do I had a
husband whose business it was to attend to it, an' so I runs aroun'
to him to tell him. He had gone in, but I met Mrs. Jackson an' her
"'What's the matter?' said she, seein' what a hurry I was in.
"'That woman at the gate,' I said, almost chokin' as I spoke, 'wont
let me out.'
"'She wont?' said Mrs. Jackson. 'Well, that's a way she has. Four
times the Bank of the United States has closed its doors before I
was able to get there, on account of that woman's obstinacy about
the gate. Indeed, I have not been to the Bank at all yet, for of
course it is of no use to go after banking hours.'
"'An' I believe, too,' said her brother in his heavy voice, 'that
she has kept out my team of little oxen. Otherwise it would be
"I couldn't stand any more of this an' ran into our room where my
husband was. When I told him what had happened, he was real sorry.
"'I didn't know you thought of going out,' he said, 'or I would
have told you all about it. An' now sit down an' quiet yourself,
an' I'll tell you jus' how things is.' So down we sits, an' says
he, jus' as carm as a summer cloud, 'My dear, this is a lunertic
asylum. Now, don't jump,' he says; 'I didn't bring you here,
because I thought you was crazy, but because I wanted you to see
what kind of people they was who imagined themselves earls and
earl-esses, an' all that sort o' thing, an' to have an idea how the
thing worked after you'd been doing it a good while an' had got
used to it. I thought it would be a good thing, while I was Earl
Jiguel and you was a noble earl-ess, to come to a place where
people acted that way. I knowed you had read lots o' books about
knights and princes an' bloody towers, an' that you knowed all
about them things, but I didn't suppose you did know how them same
things looked in these days, an' a lunertic asylum was the only
place where you could see 'em. So I went to a doctor I knowed,' he
says, 'an' got a certificate from him to this private institution,
where we could stay for a while an' get posted on romantics.'
"'Then,' says I, 'the upshot was that you wanted to teach a
"'Jus' that,' says he.
"'All right,' says I; 'it's teached. An' now let's get out of this
as quick as we kin.'
"'That'll suit me,' he says, 'an' we'll leave by the noon train.
I'll go an' see about the trunk bein' sent down.'
"So off he went to see the man who kept the house, while I falls to
packin' up the trunk as fast as I could."
"Weren't you dreadfully angry at him?" asked Euphemia, who, having
a romantic streak in her own composition, did not sympathize
altogether with this heroic remedy for Pomona's disease.
"No, ma'am," said Pomona, "not long. When I thought of Mrs.
General Jackson and Tom Thumb, I couldn't help thinkin' that I must
have looked pretty much the same to my husband, who, I knowed now,
had only been makin'-believe to make-believe. An' besides, I
couldn't be angry very long for laughin, for when he come back in a
minute, as mad as a March hare, an' said they wouldn't let me out
nor him nuther, I fell to laughin' ready to crack my sides.
"'They say,' said he, as soon as he could speak straight, 'that we
can't go out without another certificate from the doctor. I told
'em I'd go myself an' see him about it but they said no, I
couldn't, for if they did that way everybody who ever was sent here
would be goin' out the next day to see about leavin'. I didn't
want to make no fuss, so I told them I'd write a letter to the
doctor and tell him to send an order that would soon show them
whether we could go out or not. They said that would be the best
thing to do, an so I'm goin' to write it this minute,'--which he
"'How long will we have to wait?' says I, when the letter was done.
"'Well,' says he, 'the doctor can't get this before to-morrow
mornin', an' even if he answers right away, we won't get our order
to go out until the next day. So we'll jus' have to grin an' bear
it for a day an' a half.'
"'This is a lively old bridal-trip,' said I,--'dry falls an' a
"'We'll try to make the rest of it better,' said he.
"But the next day wasn't no better. We staid in our room all day,
for we didn't care to meet Mrs. Jackson an' her crazy brother, an'
I'm sure we didn't want to see the mean creatures who kept the
house. We knew well enough that they only wanted us to stay so
that they could get more board-money out of us."
"I should have broken out," cried Euphemia. "I would never have
staid an hour in that place, after I found out what it was,
especially on a bridal trip."
"If we'd done that," said Pomona, "they'd have got men after us,
an' then everybody would have thought we was real crazy. We made
up our minds to wait for the doctor's letter, but it wasn't much
fun. An' I didn't tell no romantic stories to fill up the time.
We sat down an' behaved like the commonest kind o' people. You
never saw anybody sicker of romantics than I was when I thought of
them two loons that called themselves Mrs. Andrew Jackson and
General Tom Thumb. I dropped Miguel altogether, an' he dropped
Jiguel, which was a relief to me, an' I took strong to Jonas, even
callin' him Jone, which I consider a good deal uglier an' commoner
even than Jonas. He didn't like this much, but said that if it
would help me out of the Miguel, he didn't care.
"Well, on the mornin' of the next day I went into the little front
room that they called the office, to see if there was a letter for
us yet, an' there wasn't nobody there to ask. But I saw a pile of
letters under a weight on the table, an' I jus' looked at these to
see if one of 'em was for us, an' if there wasn't the very letter
Jone had written to the doctor! They'd never sent it! I rushes
back to Jone an' tells him, an' he jus' set an' looked at me
without sayin' a word. I didn't wonder he couldn't speak.
"'I'll go an' let them people know what I think of 'em,' says I.
"'Don't do that,' said Jone, catchin' me by the sleeve. 'It wont
do no good. Leave the letter there, an' don't say nothin' about
it. We'll stay here till afternoon quite quiet, an' then we'll go
away. That garden wall isn't high.'
"'An' how about the trunk?' says I.
"'Oh, we'll take a few things in our pockets, an' lock up the
trunk, an' ask the doctor to send for it when we get to the city.'
"'All right,' says I. An' we went to work to get ready to leave.
"About five o'clock in the afternoon, when it was a nice time to
take a walk under the trees, we meandered quietly down to a corner
of the back wall, where Jone thought it would be rather convenient
to get over. He hunted up a short piece of board which he leaned
up ag'in the wall, an' then he put his foot on the top of that an'
got hold of the top of the wall an' climbed up, as easy as nuthin'.
Then he reached down to help me step onto the board. But jus' as
he was agoin' to take me by the hand: 'Hello!' says he. 'Look a-
there!' An' I turned round an' looked, an' if there wasn't Mrs.
Andrew Jackson an' General Tom Thumb a-walkin' down the path.
"'What shall we do?' says I.
"'Come along,' says he. 'We aint a-goin' to stop for them. Get
up, all the same.'
"I tried to get up as he said, but it wasn't so easy for me on
account of my not bein' such a high stepper as Jone, an' I was a
good while a-gettin' a good footin' on the board.
"Mrs. Jackson an' the General, they came right up to us an' set
down on a bench which was fastened between two trees near the wall.
An' there they set, a-lookin' steady at us with their four little
eyes, like four empty thimbles.
"'You appear to be goin' away,' says Mrs. Jackson.
"'Yes,' says Jone from the top of the wall. We're a-goin' to take
a slight stroll outside, this salu-brious evenin'.'
"'Do you think,' says she, 'that the United States Bank would be
open this time of day?'
"'Oh no,' says Jone, 'the banks all close at three o'clock. It's a
good deal after that now.'
"'But if I told the officers who I was, wouldn't that make a
difference?' says she. 'Wouldn't they go down an' open the bank?'
"'Not much,' says Jone, givin' a pull which brought me right up to
the top o' the wall an' almost clean down the other side, with one
jerk. 'I never knowed no officers that would do that. But,' says
he, a kind o' shuttin' his eyes so that she shouldn't see he was
lyin', 'we'll talk about that when we come back.'
"'If you see that team of little oxen,' says the big man, 'send 'em
'round to the front gate.'
"'All right,' says Jone; an' he let me down the outside of the wall
as if I had been a bag o' horse-feed.