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Wit and Humor of America, The Vol 04

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<SPAN name="Page_643" id="Page_643">[Pg 643]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="THE_RAGGEDY_MAN" id="THE_RAGGEDY_MAN"></SPAN>THE RAGGEDY MAN</h2> <h3>BY JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">O the Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!<br /></span> <span class="i0">He comes to our house every day,<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' he opens the shed&mdash;an' we all ist laugh<br /></span> <span class="i0">When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' nen&mdash;ef our hired girl says he can&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann.&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">Aint he a' awful good Raggedy Man?<br /></span> <span class="i4">Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">W'y, The Raggedy Man&mdash;he's ist so good<br /></span> <span class="i0">He splits the kindlin' an' chops the wood;<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' nen he spades in our garden, too,<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' does most things 'at <i>boys</i> can't do!&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">He clumbed clean up in our big tree<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' shooked a' apple down fer me&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' nother'n, too, fer 'Lizabuth Ann&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' nother'n, too, fer The Raggedy Man.&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">Aint he a' awful kind Raggedy Man?<br /></span> <span class="i4">Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">An' The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes:<br /></span> <span class="i0">Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffuns, an' Elves,<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers therselves!<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_644" id="Page_644">[Pg 644]</SPAN></span> <span class="i0">An', wite by the pump in our pasture-lot,<br /></span> <span class="i0">He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got,<br /></span> <span class="i0">'At lives 'way deep in the ground, an' can<br /></span> <span class="i0">Turn into me, er 'Lizabuth Ann!<br /></span> <span class="i2">Aint he a funny old Raggedy Man?<br /></span> <span class="i4">Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The Raggedy Man&mdash;one time when he<br /></span> <span class="i0">Wuz makin' a little bow-'n'-orry fer me,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Says "When <i>you're</i> big like your Pa is,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Air you go' to keep a fine store like his&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' be a rich merchunt&mdash;an' wear fine clothes?&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Er what <i>air</i> you go' to be, goodness knows!"<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' nen he laughed at 'Lizabuth Ann,<br /></span> <span class="i0">An' I says "'M go' to be a Raggedy Man!&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I'm ist go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!"<br /></span> <span class="i4">Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_645" id="Page_645">[Pg 645]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="A_MODERN_ECLOGUE" id="A_MODERN_ECLOGUE"></SPAN>A MODERN ECLOGUE</h2> <h3>BY BLISS CARMAN</h3> <h3><span class="smcap">She</span></h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If you were ferryman at Charon's ford,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And I came down the bank and called to you,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Waved you my hand and asked to come aboard,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And threw you kisses there, what would you do?<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Would there be such a crowd of other girls,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Pleading and pale and lonely as the sea,<br /></span> <span class="i0">You'd growl in your old beard, and shake your curls,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And say there was no room for little me?<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Would you remember each of them in turn?<br /></span> <span class="i0">Put all your faded fancies in the bow,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And all the rest before you in the stern,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And row them out with panic on your brow?<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If I came down and offered you my fare<br /></span> <span class="i0">And more beside, could you refuse me there?<br /></span> </div></div> <h3><span class="smcap">He</span></h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If I were ferryman in Charon's place,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And ran that crazy scow with perilous skill,<br /></span> <span class="i0">I should be so worn out with keeping trace<br /></span> <span class="i0">Of gibbering ghosts and bidding them sit still,<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_646" id="Page_646">[Pg 646]</SPAN></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If you should come with daisies in your hands,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Strewing their petals on the sombre stream,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">"He will come," and "He won't come," down the lands<br /></span> <span class="i0">Of pallid reverie and ghostly dream,&mdash;<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I would let every clamouring shape stand there,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And give its shadowy lungs free vent in vain,<br /></span> <span class="i0">While you with earthly roses in your hair,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And I grown young at sight of you again,<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Went down the stream once more at half-past seven<br /></span> <span class="i0">To find some brand-new continent of heaven.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_647" id="Page_647">[Pg 647]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="A_CABLE-CAR_PREACHER" id="A_CABLE-CAR_PREACHER"></SPAN>A CABLE-CAR PREACHER</h2> <h3>BY SAM WALTER FOSS</h3> <h3>I</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">"'Tis strange how thoughtless people are,"<br /></span> <span class="i2">A man said in a cable-car,<br /></span> <span class="i0">"How careless and how thoughtless," said<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Loud Man in the cable-car;<br /></span> <span class="i2">And then the Man with One Lame Leg<br /></span> <span class="i2">Said softly, "Pardon me, I beg,<br /></span> <span class="i0">For your valise is on my knee;<br /></span> <span class="i2">It's sore," said he of One Lame Leg.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>II</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">A woman then came in with twins<br /></span> <span class="i2">And stumbled o'er the Loud Man's shins;<br /></span> <span class="i0">And she was tired half to death,<br /></span> <span class="i2">This Woman Who Came in with Twins;<br /></span> <span class="i2">And then the Man with One Lame Leg<br /></span> <span class="i2">Said, "Madam, take my seat, I beg."<br /></span> <span class="i0">She sat, with her vociferant Twins,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And thanked the man of One Lame Leg.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_648" id="Page_648">[Pg 648]</SPAN></span></div></div> <h3>III</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">"'Tis strange how selfish people are,<br /></span> <span class="i2">They carry boorishness so far;<br /></span> <span class="i0">How selfish, careless, thoughtless," said<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Loud Man of the cable-car.<br /></span> <span class="i2">A Man then with the Lung Complaint<br /></span> <span class="i2">Grew dizzy and began to faint;<br /></span> <span class="i0">He reeled and swayed from side to side,<br /></span> <span class="i2">This poor Man with the Lung Complaint.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>IV</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">The Woman Who Came in with Twins<br /></span> <span class="i2">Said, "You can hardly keep your pins;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Pray, take my seat." He sat, and thanked<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Woman Who Came in with Twins.<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Loud Man once again began<br /></span> <span class="i2">To curse the selfishness of man;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Our lack of manners he bewailed<br /></span> <span class="i2">With vigor, did this Loud, Loud Man.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>V</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">But still the Loud Man kept his seat;<br /></span> <span class="i2">A Blind Man stumbled o'er his feet;<br /></span> <span class="i0">The Loud Man preached on selfishness,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And preached, and preached, and kept his seat.<br /></span> <span class="i2">The poor Man with the Lung Complaint<br /></span> <span class="i2">Stood up&mdash;a brave, heroic saint&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">And to the Blind Man, "Take my seat,"<br /></span> <span class="i2">Said he who had the Lung Complaint.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_649" id="Page_649">[Pg 649]</SPAN></span></div></div> <h3>VI</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">The Loud Man preached on selfish sins;<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Woman Who Came in with Twins;<br /></span> <span class="i0">The poor Man with the Lung Complaint,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Stood, while he preached on selfish sins.<br /></span> <span class="i2">And still the Man with One Lame Leg<br /></span> <span class="i2">Stood there on his imperfect peg<br /></span> <span class="i0">And heard the screed on selfish sins&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">This patient Man with One Lame Leg.<br /></span> </div></div> <h3>VII</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i2">The Loud Man of the cable-car<br /></span> <span class="i2">Sat still and preached and traveled far;<br /></span> <span class="i0">The Blind Man spake no word unto<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Loud Man of the cable-car.<br /></span> <span class="i0">The Lame-Legged Man looked reconciled,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And she with Twins her grief beguiled,<br /></span> <span class="i0">The poor Man with the Lung Complaint&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">All stood, and sweetly, sadly smiled.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_650" id="Page_650">[Pg 650]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="HOW_TO_KNOW_THE_WILD_ANIMALS" id="HOW_TO_KNOW_THE_WILD_ANIMALS"></SPAN>HOW TO KNOW THE WILD ANIMALS</h2> <h3>BY CAROLYN WELLS</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If ever you should go by chance<br /></span> <span class="i2">To jungles in the East,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And if there should to you advance<br /></span> <span class="i2">A large and tawny beast&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">If he roar at you as you're dyin',<br /></span> <span class="i2">You'll know it is the Asian Lion.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If, when in India loafing round,<br /></span> <span class="i2">A noble wild beast meets you,<br /></span> <span class="i0">With dark stripes on a yellow ground,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Just notice if he eats you.<br /></span> <span class="i0">This simple rule may help you learn<br /></span> <span class="i2">The Bengal Tiger to discern.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">When strolling forth, a beast you view<br /></span> <span class="i2">Whose hide with spots is peppered;<br /></span> <span class="i0">As soon as it has leapt on you,<br /></span> <span class="i2">You'll know it is the Leopard.<br /></span> <span class="i0">'T will do no good to roar with pain,<br /></span> <span class="i2">He'll only lep and lep again.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">If you are sauntering round your yard,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And meet a creature there<br /></span> <span class="i0">Who hugs you very, very hard,<br /></span> <span class="i2">You'll know it is the Bear.<br /></span> <span class="i0">If you have any doubt, I guess<br /></span> <span class="i2">He'll give you just one more caress.<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_651" id="Page_651">[Pg 651]</SPAN></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Whene'er a quadruped you view<br /></span> <span class="i2">Attached to any tree,<br /></span> <span class="i0">It may be 'tis the Wanderoo,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Or yet the Chimpanzee.<br /></span> <span class="i0">If right side up it may be both,<br /></span> <span class="i2">If upside down it is the Sloth.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">Though to distinguish beasts of prey<br /></span> <span class="i2">A novice might nonplus;<br /></span> <span class="i0">Yet from the Crocodile you may<br /></span> <span class="i2">Tell the Hyena, thus:<br /></span> <span class="i0">'Tis the Hyena if it smile;<br /></span> <span class="i2">If weeping, 'tis the Crocodile.<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">The true Chameleon is small&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">A lizard sort of thing;<br /></span> <span class="i0">He hasn't any ears at all<br /></span> <span class="i2">And not a single wing.<br /></span> <span class="i0">If there is nothing on the tree<br /></span> <span class="i2">'Tis the Chameleon you see.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_652" id="Page_652">[Pg 652]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="I_REMEMBER_I_REMEMBER" id="I_REMEMBER_I_REMEMBER"></SPAN>I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER</h2> <h3>BY PH&OElig;BE CARY</h3> <div class="poem"><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I remember, I remember,<br /></span> <span class="i2">The house where I was wed,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And the little room from which that night,<br /></span> <span class="i2">My smiling bride was led.<br /></span> <span class="i0">She didn't come a wink too soon,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Nor make too long a stay;<br /></span> <span class="i0">But now I often wish her folks<br /></span> <span class="i2">Had kept the girl away!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I remember, I remember,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Her dresses, red and white,<br /></span> <span class="i0">Her bonnets and her caps and cloaks,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">They cost an awful sight!<br /></span> <span class="i0">The "corner lot" on which I built,<br /></span> <span class="i2">And where my brother met<br /></span> <span class="i0">At first my wife, one washing-day,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">That man is single yet!<br /></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I remember, I remember,<br /></span> <span class="i2">Where I was used to court,<br /></span> <span class="i0">And thought that all of married life<br /></span> <span class="i2">Was just such pleasant sport:&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i0">My spirit flew in feathers then,<br /></span> <span class="i2">No care was on my brow;<br /></span> <span class="i0">I scarce could wait to shut the gate,&mdash;<br /></span> <span class="i2">I'm not so anxious now!<br /></span><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_653" id="Page_653">[Pg 653]</SPAN></span> </div><div class="stanza"> <span class="i0">I remember, I remember,<br /></span> <span class="i2">My dear one's smile and sigh;<br /></span> <span class="i0">I used to think her tender heart<br /></span> <span class="i2">Was close against the sky.<br /></span> <span class="i0">It was a childish ignorance,<br /></span> <span class="i2">But now it soothes me not<br /></span> <span class="i0">To know I'm farther off from Heaven<br /></span> <span class="i2">Then when she wasn't got.<br /></span> <span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_654" id="Page_654">[Pg 654]</SPAN></span></div></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2><SPAN name="THE_COUPON_BONDS" id="THE_COUPON_BONDS"></SPAN>THE COUPON BONDS</h2> <h3>BY J.T. TROWBRIDGE</h3> <p>(Mr. and Mrs. Ducklow have secretly purchased bonds with money that should have been given to their adopted son Reuben, who has sacrificed his health in serving his country as a soldier, and, going to visit Reuben on the morning of his return home, they hide the bonds under the carpet of the sitting-room, and leave the house in charge of Taddy, another adopted son.)</p> <hr style='width: 45%;' /> <p>Mr. Ducklow had scarcely turned the corner of the street, when, looking anxiously in the direction of his homestead, he saw a column of smoke. It was directly over the spot where he knew his house to be situated. He guessed at a glance what had happened. The frightful catastrophe he foreboded had befallen. Taddy had set the house afire.</p> <p>"Them bonds! them bonds!" he exclaimed, distractedly. He did not think so much of the house: house and furniture were insured; if they were burned the inconvenience would be great indeed, and at any other time the thought of such an event would have been a sufficient cause for trepidation; but now his chief, his only anxiety was the bonds. They were not insured. They would be a dead loss. And, what added sharpness to his pangs, they would be a loss which he must keep a secret, as he had kept their existence a secret,&mdash;a loss which he could not confess, and of which he could not complain. Had<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_655" id="Page_655">[Pg 655]</SPAN></span> he not just given his neighbors to understand that he had no such property? And his wife,&mdash;was she not at that very moment, if not serving up a lie upon the subject, at least paring the truth very thin indeed?</p> <p>"A man would think," observed Ferring, "that Ducklow had some o' them bonds on his hands, and got scaret, he took such a sudden start. He has, hasn't he, Mrs. Ducklow?"</p> <p>"Has what?" said Mrs. Ducklow, pretending ignorance.</p> <p>"Some o' them cowpon bonds. I rather guess he's got some."</p> <p>"You mean Gov'ment bonds? Ducklow got some? 'Tain't at all likely he'd spec'late in them without saying something to <i>me</i> about it. No, he couldn't have any without my knowing it, I'm sure."</p> <p>How demure, how innocent she looked, plying her knitting-needle, and stopping to take up a stitch! How little at that moment she knew of Ducklow's trouble and its terrible cause!</p> <p>Ducklow's first impulse was to drive on and endeavor at all hazards to snatch the bonds from the flames. His next was to return and alarm his neighbors and obtain their assistance. But a minute's delay might be fatal: so he drove on, screaming, "Fire! fire!" at the top of his voice.</p> <p>But the old mare was a slow-footed animal; and Ducklow had no whip. He reached forward and struck her with the reins.</p> <p>"Git up! git up!&mdash;Fire! fire!" screamed Ducklow. "Oh, them bonds! them bonds! Why didn't I give the money to Reuben? Fire! fire! fire!"</p> <p>By dint of screaming and slapping, he urged her from a trot into a gallop, which was scarcely an improvement<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_656" id="Page_656">[Pg 656]</SPAN></span> as to speed, and certainly not as to grace. It was like the gallop of an old cow. "Why don't ye go 'long?" he cried, despairingly.</p> <p>Slap! slap! He knocked his own hat off with the loose end of the reins. It fell under the wheels. He cast one look behind, to satisfy himself that it had been very thoroughly run over and crushed into the dirt, and left it to its fate.</p> <p>Slap! slap! "Fire! fire!" Canter, canter, canter! Neighbors looked out of their windows, and, recognizing Ducklow's wagon and old mare in such an astonishing plight, and Ducklow himself, without his hat, rising from his seat and reaching forward in wild attitudes, brandishing the reins, and at the same time rending the azure with yells, thought he must be insane.</p> <p>He drove to the top of the hill, and, looking beyond, in expectation of seeing his house wrapped in flames, discovered that the smoke proceeded from a brush-heap which his neighbor Atkins was burning in a field near by.</p> <p>The revulsion of feeling that ensued was almost too much for the excitable Ducklow. His strength went out of him. For a little while there seemed to be nothing left of him but tremor and cold sweat. Difficult as it had been to get the old mare in motion, it was now even more difficult to stop her.</p> <p>"Why, what has got into Ducklow's old mare? She's running away with him! Who ever heard of such a thing!" And Atkins, watching the ludicrous spectacle from his field, became almost as weak from laughter as Ducklow was from the effects of fear.</p> <p>At length Ducklow succeeded in checking the old mare's speed and in turning her about. It was necessary to drive back for his hat. By this time he could hear a chorus of shouts, "Fire! fire! fire!" over the hill. He had<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_657" id="Page_657">[Pg 657]</SPAN></span> aroused the neighbors as he passed, and now they were flocking to extinguish the flames.</p> <p>"A false alarm! a false alarm!" said Ducklow, looking marvelously sheepish, as he met them. "Nothing but Atkins's brush-heap!"</p> <p>"Seems to me you ought to have found that out 'fore you raised all creation with your yells!" said one hyperbolical fellow. "You looked like the Flying Dutchman! This your hat? I thought 'twas a dead cat in the road. No fire! no fire!"&mdash;turning back to his comrades,&mdash;"only one of Ducklow's jokes."</p> <p>Nevertheless, two or three boys there were who would not be convinced, but continued to leap up, swing their caps, and scream "Fire!" against all remonstrance. Ducklow did not wait to enter his explanations, but, turning the old mare about again, drove home amid the laughter of the by-standers and the screams of the misguided youngsters. As he approached the house, he met Taddy rushing wildly up the street.</p> <p>"Thaddeus! Thaddeus! Where ye goin', Thaddeus?"</p> <p>"Goin' to the fire!" cried Taddy.</p> <p>"There isn't any fire, boy."</p> <p>"Yes, there is! Didn't ye hear 'em? They've been yellin' like fury."</p> <p>"It's nothin' but Atkins's brush."</p> <p>"That all?" And Taddy appeared very much disappointed. "I thought there was goin' to be some fun. I wonder who was such a fool as to yell fire just for a darned old brush-heap!"</p> <p>Ducklow did not inform him.</p> <p>"I've got to drive over to town and get Reuben's trunk. You stand by the mare while I step in and brush my hat."</p> <p>Instead of applying himself at once to the restoration of his beaver, he hastened to the sitting-room, to see that the bonds were safe.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_658" id="Page_658">[Pg 658]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Heavens and 'arth!" said Ducklow.</p> <p>The chair, which had been carefully planted in the spot where they were concealed, had been removed. Three or four tacks had been taken out, and the carpet pushed from the wall. There was straw scattered about. Evidently Taddy had been interrupted, in the midst of his ransacking, by the alarm of fire. Indeed, he was even now creeping into the house to see what notice Ducklow would take of these evidences of his mischief.</p> <p>In great trepidation the farmer thrust in his hand here and there, and groped, until he found the envelope precisely where it had been placed the night before, with the tape tied around it, which his wife had put on to prevent its contents from slipping out and losing themselves. Great was the joy of Ducklow. Great also was the wrath of him when he turned and discovered Taddy.</p> <p>"Didn't I tell you to stand by the old mare?"</p> <p>"She won't stir," said Taddy, shrinking away again.</p> <p>"Come here!" And Ducklow grasped him by the collar.</p> <p>"What have you been doin'? Look at that!"</p> <p>"'Twan't me!" beginning to whimper and ram his fists into his eyes.</p> <p>"Don't tell me 'twan't you!" Ducklow shook him till his teeth chattered. "What was you pullin' up the carpet for?"</p> <p>"Lost a marble!" sniveled Taddy.</p> <p>"Lost a marble! Ye didn't lose it under the carpet, did ye? Look at all that straw pulled out!" shaking him again.</p> <p>"Didn't know but it might 'a' got under the carpet, marbles roll so," explained Taddy, as soon as he could get his breath.</p> <p>"Wal, sir,"&mdash;Ducklow administered a resounding box<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_659" id="Page_659">[Pg 659]</SPAN></span> on his ear,&mdash;"don't you do such a thing again, if you lose a million marbles!"</p> <p>"Hain't got a million!" Taddy wept, rubbing his cheek. "Hain't got but four! Won't ye buy me some to-day?"</p> <p>"Go to that mare, and don't you leave her again till I come, or I'll <i>marble</i> ye in a way you won't like."</p> <p>Understanding, by this somewhat equivocal form of expression, that flagellation was threatened, Taddy obeyed, still feeling his smarting and burning ear.</p> <p>Ducklow was in trouble. What should he do with the bonds? The floor was no place for them after what had happened; and he remembered too well the experience of yesterday to think for a moment of carrying them about his person. With unreasonable impatience, his mind reverted to Mrs. Ducklow.</p> <p>"Why ain't she to home? These women are forever a-gaddin'! I wish Reuben's trunk was in Jericho!"</p> <p>Thinking of the trunk reminded him of one in the garret, filled with old papers of all sorts,&mdash;newspapers, letters, bills of sale, children's writing-books,&mdash;accumulations of the past quarter of a century. Neither fire nor burglar nor ransacking youngster had ever molested those ancient records during all those five-and-twenty years. A bright thought struck him.</p> <p>"I'll slip the bonds down into that worthless heap o' rubbish, where no one 'ull ever think o' lookin' for 'em, and resk 'em."</p> <p>Having assured himself that Taddy was standing by the wagon, he paid a hasty visit to the trunk in the garret, and concealed the envelope, still bound in its band of tape, among the papers. He then drove away, giving Taddy a final charge to beware of setting anything afire.</p> <p>He had driven about half a mile, when he met a ped<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_660" id="Page_660">[Pg 660]</SPAN></span>dler. There was nothing unusual or alarming in such a circumstance, surely; but, as Ducklow kept on, it troubled him.</p> <p>"He'll stop to the house, now, most likely, and want to trade. Findin' nobody but Taddy, there's no knowin' what he'll be tempted to do. But I ain't a-goin' to worry. I'll defy anybody to find them bonds. Besides, she may be home by this time. I guess she'll hear of the fire-alarm and hurry home: it'll be jest like her. She'll be there, and trade with the peddler!" thought Ducklow, uneasily. Then a frightful fancy possessed him. "She has threatened two or three times to sell that old trunkful of papers. He'll offer a big price for 'em, and ten to one she'll let him have 'em. Why <i>didn't</i> I think on't? What a stupid blunderbuss I be!"</p> <p>As Ducklow thought of it, he felt almost certain that Mrs. Ducklow had returned home, and that she was bargaining with the peddler at that moment. He fancied her smilingly receiving bright tin-ware for the old papers; and he could see the tape-tied envelope going into the bag with the rest. The result was that he turned about and whipped his old mare home again in terrific haste, to catch the departing peddler.</p> <p>Arriving, he found the house as he had left it, and Taddy occupied in making a kite-frame.</p> <p>"Did that peddler stop here?"</p> <p>"I hain't seen no peddler."</p> <p>"And hain't yer Ma Ducklow been home, nuther?"</p> <p>"No."</p> <p>And, with a guilty look, Taddy put the kite-frame behind him.</p> <p>Ducklow considered. The peddler had turned up a cross-street: he would probably turn down again and stop at the house, after all: Mrs. Ducklow might by that time<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_661" id="Page_661">[Pg 661]</SPAN></span> be at home: then the sale of old papers would be very likely to take place. Ducklow thought of leaving word that he did not wish any old papers in the house to be sold, but feared lest the request might excite Taddy's suspicions.</p> <p>"I don't see no way but for me to take the bonds with me," thought he, with an inward groan.</p> <p>He accordingly went to the garret, took the envelope out of the trunk, and placed it in the breast-pocket of his overcoat, to which he pinned it, to prevent it by any chance from getting out. He used six large, strong pins for the purpose, and was afterwards sorry he did not use seven.</p> <p>"There's suthin' losin' out o' yer pocket!" bawled Taddy, as he was once more mounting the wagon.</p> <p>Quick as lightning, Ducklow clapped his hand to his breast. In doing so he loosed his hold of the wagon-box and fell, raking his shin badly on the wheel.</p> <p>"Yer side-pocket! It's one o' yer mittens!" said Taddy.</p> <p>"You rascal! How you scared me!"</p> <p>Seating himself in the wagon, Ducklow gently pulled up his trousers-leg to look at the bruised part.</p> <p>"Got anything in your boot-leg to-day, Pa Ducklow?" asked Taddy, innocently.</p> <p>"Yes,&mdash;a barked shin!&mdash;all on your account, too! Go and put that straw back, and fix the carpet; and don't ye let me hear ye speak of my boot-leg again, or I'll boot-leg ye!"</p> <p>So saying, Ducklow departed.</p> <p>Instead of repairing the mischief he had done in the sitting-room, Taddy devoted his time and talents to the more interesting occupation of constructing his kite-frame. He worked at that until Mr. Grantly, the minister, driving by, stopped to inquire how the folks were.<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_662" id="Page_662">[Pg 662]</SPAN></span></p> <p>"Ain't to home: may I ride?" cried Taddy, all in a breath.</p> <p>Mr. Grantly was an indulgent old gentleman, fond of children: so he said, "Jump in;" and in a minute Taddy had scrambled to a seat by his side.</p> <p>And now occurred a circumstance which Ducklow had foreseen. The alarm of fire had reached Reuben's; and, although the report of its falseness followed immediately, Mrs. Ducklow's inflammable fancy was so kindled by it that she could find no comfort in prolonging her visit.</p> <p>"Mr. Ducklow'll be going for the trunk, and I <i>must</i> go home and see to things, Taddy's <i>such</i> a fellow for mischief. I can foot it; I shan't mind it."</p> <p>And off she started, walking herself out of breath in anxiety.</p> <p>She reached the brow of the hill just in time to see a chaise drive away from her own door.</p> <p>"Who <i>can</i> that be? I wonder if Taddy's ther' to guard the house! If anything should happen to them bonds!"</p> <p>Out of breath as she was, she quickened her pace, and trudged on, flushed, perspiring, panting, until she reached the house.</p> <p>"Thaddeus!" she called.</p> <p>No Taddy answered. She went in. The house was deserted. And, lo! the carpet torn up, and the bonds abstracted!</p> <p>Mr. Ducklow never would have made such work, removing the bonds. Then somebody else must have taken them, she reasoned.</p> <p>"The man in the chaise!" she exclaimed, or rather made an effort to exclaim, succeeding only in bringing forth a hoarse, gasping sound. Fear dried up articulation. <i>Vox faucibus h&aelig;sit.</i><span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_663" id="Page_663">[Pg 663]</SPAN></span></p> <p>And Taddy? He had disappeared, been murdered, perhaps,&mdash;or gagged and carried away by the man in the chaise.</p> <p>Mrs. Ducklow flew hither and thither (to use a favorite phrase of her own), "like a hen with her head cut off;" then rushed out of the house and up the street, screaming after the chaise,&mdash;</p> <p>"Murder! murder! Stop thief! stop thief!"</p> <p>She waved her hands aloft in the air frantically. If she had trudged before, now she trotted, now she cantered; but, if the cantering of the old mare was fitly likened to that of a cow, to what thing, to what manner of motion under the sun, shall we liken the cantering of Mrs. Ducklow? It was original; it was unique; it was prodigious. Now, with her frantically waving hands, and all her undulating and flapping skirts, she seemed a species of huge, unwieldy bird, attempting to fly. Then she sank down into a heavy, dragging walk,&mdash;breath and strength all gone,&mdash;no voice left even to scream "murder!" Then, the awful realization of the loss of the bonds once more rushing over her, she started up again. "Half running, half flying, what progress she made!" Then Atkins's dog saw her, and, naturally mistaking her for a prodigy, came out at her, bristling up and bounding and barking terrifically.</p> <p>"Come here!" cried Atkins, following the dog. "What's the matter? What's to pay, Mrs. Ducklow?"</p> <p>Attempting to speak, the good woman could only pant and wheeze.</p> <p>"Robbed!" she at last managed to whisper, amid the yelpings of the cur that refused to be silenced.</p> <p>"Robbed? How? Who?"</p> <p>"The chaise. Ketch it."</p> <p>Her gestures expressed more than her words; and, At<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_664" id="Page_664">[Pg 664]</SPAN></span>kins's horse and wagon, with which he had been drawing out brush, being in the yard near-by, he ran to them, leaped to the seat, drove into the road, took Mrs. Ducklow aboard, and set out in vigorous pursuit of the slow two-wheeled vehicle.</p> <p>"Stop, you, sir! Stop, you, sir!" shrieked Mrs. Ducklow, having recovered her breath by the time they came up with the chaise.</p> <p>It stopped, and Mr. Grantly, the minister, put out his good-natured, surprised face.</p> <p>"You've robbed my house! You've took&mdash;"</p> <p>Mrs. Ducklow was going on in wild, accusatory accents, when she recognized the benign countenance.</p> <p>"What do you say? I have robbed you?" he exclaimed, very much astonished.</p> <p>"No, no! not you! You wouldn't do such a thing!" she stammered forth, while Atkins, who had laughed himself weak at Mr. Ducklow's plight earlier in the morning, now laughed himself into a side-ache at Mrs. Ducklow's ludicrous mistake. "But did you&mdash;did you stop at my house? Have you seen our Thaddeus?"</p> <p>"Here I be, Ma Ducklow!" piped a small voice; and Taddy, who had till then remained hidden, fearing punishment, peeped out of the chaise from behind the broad back of the minister.</p> <p>"Taddy! Taddy! how came the carpet&mdash;"</p> <p>"I pulled it up, huntin' for a marble," said Taddy, as she paused, overmastered by her emotions.</p> <p>"And the&mdash;the thing tied up in a brown wrapper?"</p> <p>"Pa Ducklow took it."</p> <p>"Ye sure?"</p> <p>"Yes; I seen him."</p> <p>"Oh, dear!" said Mrs. Ducklow, "I never was so beat! Mr. Grantly, I hope&mdash;excuse me&mdash;I didn't know what I<span class='pagenum'><SPAN name="Page_665" id="Page_665">[Pg 665]</SPAN></span> was about! Taddy, you notty boy, what did you leave the house for? Be ye quite sure yer Pa Ducklow&mdash;"</p> <p>Taddy replied that he was quite sure, as he climbed from the chaise into Atkins's wagon. The minister smilingly remarked that he hoped she would find no robbery had been committed, and went his way. Atkins, driving back, and setting her and Taddy down at the Ducklow gate, answered her embarrassed "Much obleeged to ye," with a sincere "Not at all," considering the fun he had had a sufficient compensation for his trouble. And thus ended the morning adventures, with the exception of an unimportant episode, in which Taddy, Mrs. Ducklow, and Mrs. Ducklow's rattan were the principal actors.<span class='pagenum'>
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