Part 4 out of 4
he intended to keep his "weather eye" on them, and should send "a speritual
shot across their bows" and bring them to, if they didn't treat the Aged
He also expressed a wish to have his body stitched up in a shotted hammock
and dropped into the harbor; but as he did not strenuously insist on this,
and as it was not in accordance with my grandfather's preconceived notions
of Christian burial, the Admiral was laid to rest beside Kitty, in the Old
South Burying Ground, with an anchor that would have delighted him neatly
carved on his headstone.
I am sorry the fire has gone out in the old ship's stove in that sky-blue
cottage at the head of the wharf; I am sorry they have taken down the
flag-staff and painted over the funny port-holes; for I loved the old cabin
as it was. They might have let it alone!
For several months after leaving Rivermouth I carried on a voluminous
correspondence with Pepper Whitcomb; but it gradually dwindled down to a
single letter a month, and then to none at all. But while he remained at
the Temple Grammar School he kept me advised of the current gossip of the
town and the doings of the Centipedes.
As one by one the boys left the academy-Adams, Harris, Marden, Blake, and
Langdon-to seek their fortunes elsewhere, there was less to interest me in
the old seaport; and when Pepper himself went to Philadelphia to read law,
I had no one to give me an inkling of what was going on.
There wasn't much to go on, to be sure. Great events no longer considered it
worth their while to honor so quiet a place.
One Fourth of July the Temple Grammar School burnt down-set on fire, it was
supposed, by an eccentric squib that was seen to bolt into an upper
window-and Mr. Grimshaw retired from public life, married, "and lived
happily ever after," as the story-books say.
The Widow Conway, I am able to state, did not succeed in enslaving Mr.
Meeks, the apothecary, who united himself clandestinely to one of Miss
Dorothy Gibbs's young ladies, and lost the patronage of Primrose Hall in
Young Conway went into the grocery business with his ancient chum,
Rodgers-RODGERS & CONWAY! I read the sign only last summer when I was down
in Rivermouth, and had half a mind to pop into the shop and shake hands
with him, and ask him if he wanted to fight. I contented myself, however,
with flattening my nose against his dingy shop-window, and beheld Conway,
in red whiskers and blue overalls, weighing out sugar for a customer-giving
him short weight, I'll bet anything!
I have reserved my pleasantest word for the last. It is touching the
Captain. The Captain is still hale and rosy, and if he doesn't relate his
exploit in the War of 1812 as spiritedly as he used to, he makes up by
relating it more frequently and telling it differently every time! He
passes his winters in New York and his summers in the Nutter House, which
threatens to prove a hard nut for the destructive gentleman with the scythe
and the hour-glass, for the seaward gable has not yielded a clapboard to
the eastwind these twenty years. The Captain has now become the Oldest
Inhabitant in Rivermouth, and so I don't laugh at the Oldest Inhabitant any
more, but pray in my heart that he may occupy the post of honor for half a
century to come!
So ends the Story of a Bad Boy-but not such a very bad boy, as I told you to