The Rudder Grangers Abroad and Other Stories
Frank R. Stockton
Part 1 out of 3
Produced by Suzanne Shell, GF Untermeyer and PG Distributed Proofreaders
THE RUDDER GRANGERS ABROAD AND OTHER STORIES
FRANK R. STOCKTON
I. EUPHEMIA AMONG THE PELICANS
II. THE RUDDER GRANGERS IN ENGLAND
III. POMONA'S DAUGHTER
V. THE BAKER OF BARNBURY
VI. THE WATER-DEVIL
EUPHEMIA AMONG THE PELICANS.
The sun shone warm and soft, as it shines in winter time in the
semi-tropics. The wind blew strong, as it blows whenever and wherever
it listeth. Seven pelicans labored slowly through the air. A flock of
ducks rose from the surface of the river. A school of mullet, disturbed
by a shark, or some other unscrupulous pursuer, sprang suddenly out of
the water just before us, and fell into it again like the splashing of
a sudden shower.
I lay upon the roof of the cabin of a little yacht. Euphemia stood
below, her feet upon the mess-chest, and her elbows resting on the edge
of the cabin roof. A sudden squall would have unshipped her; still, if
one would be happy, there are risks that must be assumed. At the open
entrance of the cabin, busily writing on a hanging-shelf that served as
a table, sat a Paying Teller. On the high box which during most of the
day covered our stove was a little lady, writing in a note-book. On the
forward deck, at the foot of the mast, sat a young man in a state of
placidness. His feet stuck out on the bowsprit, while his mildly
contemplative eyes went forth unto the roundabout.
At the tiller stood our guide and boatman, his sombre eye steady on the
south-by-east. Around the horizon of his countenance there spread a
dark and six-days' beard, like a slowly rising thunder-cloud; ever and
anon there was a gleam of white teeth, like a bright break in the sky,
but it meant nothing. During all our trip, the sun never shone in that
face. It never stormed, but it was always cloudy. But he was the best
boatman on those waters, and when he stood at the helm we knew we
sailed secure. We wanted a man familiar with storms and squalls, and if
this familiarity had developed into facial sympathy, it mattered not.
We could attend to our own sunshine. At his feet sat humbly his boy of
twelve, whom we called "the crew." He was making fancy knots in a bit
of rope. This and the occupation of growing up were the only labors in
which he willingly engaged.
Euphemia and I had left Rudder Grange, to spend a month or two in
Florida, and we were now on a little sloop-yacht on the bright waters
of the Indian River. It must not be supposed that, because we had a
Paying Teller with us, we had set up a floating bank. With this Paying
Teller, from a distant State, we had made acquaintance on our first
entrance into Florida. He was travelling in what Euphemia called "a
group," which consisted of his wife,--the little lady with the
note-book,--the contemplative young man on the forward deck, and
This Paying Teller had worked so hard and so rapidly at his business
for several years, and had paid out so much of his health and strength,
that it was necessary for him to receive large deposits of these
essentials before he could go to work again. But the peculiar habits of
his profession never left him. He was continually paying out something.
If you presented a conversational check to him in the way of a remark,
he would, figuratively speaking, immediately jump to his little window
and proceed to cash it, sometimes astonishing you by the amount of
small change he would spread out before you.
When he heard of our intention to cruise on Indian River he wished to
join his group to our party, and as he was a good fellow we were glad
to have him do so. His wife had been, or was still, a schoolteacher.
Her bright and cheerful face glistened with information.
The contemplative young man was a distant connection of the Teller, and
his first name being Quincy, was commonly called Quee. If he had wanted
to know any of the many things the little teacher wished to tell he
would have been a happy youth; but his contemplation seldom
crystallized into a knowledge of what he did want to know.
"And how can I," she once said to Euphemia and myself, "be expected
ever to offer him any light when he can never bring himself to actually
roll up a question?"
This was said while I was rolling a cigarette.
The group was greatly given to writing in journals, and making
estimates. Euphemia and I did little of this, as it was our holiday,
but it was often pleasant to see the work going on. The business in
which the Paying Teller was now engaged was the writing of his journal,
and his wife held a pencil in her kidded fingers and a little
blank-book on her knees.
This was our first day upon the river.
"Where are we?" asked Euphemia. "I know we are on the Indian River, but
where is the Indian River?"
"It is here," I said.
"But where is here?" reiterated Euphemia.
"There are only three places in the world," said the teacher, looking
up from her book,--"here, there, and we don't know where. Every spot on
earth is in one or the other of those three places."
"As far as I am concerned," said Euphemia, "the Indian River is in the
"Then we must hasten to take it out," said the teacher, and she dived
into the cabin, soon reappearing with a folding map of Florida. "Here,"
she said, "do you see that wide river running along part of the
Atlantic coast of the State, and extending down as far as Jupiter
Inlet? That is Indian River, and we are on it. Its chief
characteristics are that it is not a river, but an arm of the sea, and
that it is full of fish."
"It seems to me to be so full," said I, "that there is not room for
them all--that is, if we are to judge by the way the mullet jump out."
"I think," said the teacher, making a spot with her pencil on the map,
"that just now we are about here."
"It is the first time," said Euphemia, "that I ever looked upon an
unknown region on the map, and felt I was there."
Our plans for travel and living were very simple. We had provided
ourselves on starting with provisions for several weeks, and while on
the river we cooked and ate on board our little vessel. When we reached
Jupiter Inlet we intended to go into camp. Every night we anchored near
the shore. Euphemia and I occupied the cabin of the boat; a tent was
pitched on shore for the Teller and his wife; there was another tent
for the captain and his boy, and this was shared by the contemplative
Our second night on the river was tinged with incident. We had come to
anchor near a small settlement, and our craft had been moored to a rude
wharf. About the middle of the night a wind-storm arose, and Euphemia
and I were awakened by the bumping of the boat against the wharf-posts.
Through the open end of the cabin I could see that the night was very
dark, and I began to consider the question whether or not it would be
necessary for me to get up, much preferring, however, that the wind
should go down. Before I had made up my mind we heard a step on the
cabin above us, and then a quick and hurried tramping. I put my head
out of the little window by me, and cried--
The voice of the boatman replied out of the darkness:--
"She'll bump herself to pieces against this pier! I'm going to tow you
out into the stream." And so he cast us loose, and getting into the
little boat which was fastened to our stern, and always followed us as
a colt its mother, he towed us far out into the stream. There he
anchored us, and rowed away. The bumps now ceased, but the wind still
blew violently, the waves ran high, and the yacht continually wobbled
up and down, tugging and jerking at her anchor. Neither of us was
frightened, but we could not sleep.
"I know nothing can happen," said Euphemia, "for he would not have left
us here if everything had not been all right, but one might as well try
to sleep in a corn-popper as in this bed."
After a while the violent motion ceased, and there was nothing but a
gentle surging up and down.
"I am so glad the wind has lulled," said Euphemia, from the other side
of the centre-board partition which partially divided the cabin.
Although I could still hear the wind blowing strongly outside, I too
was glad that its force had diminished so far that we felt no more the
violent jerking that had disturbed us, and I soon fell asleep.
In the morning, when I awoke, I saw that the sun was shining brightly,
and that a large sea-grape bush was hanging over our stern. I sprang
out of bed, and found that we had run, stern foremost, upon a sandy
beach. About forty feet away, upon the shore, stood two 'possums,
gazing with white, triangular faces upon our stranded craft. Except
these, and some ducks swimming near us, with seven pelicans flying
along on the other side of the river, there was no sign of life within
the range of my sight. I was not long in understanding the situation.
It had not been the lulling of the storm, but the parting of our cable
which had caused the uneasy jerking of our little yacht to cease. We
had been blown I knew not how far down the river, for the storm had
come from the north, and had stranded I knew not where. Taking out my
pocket-compass I found that we were on the eastern shore of the river,
and that the wind had changed completely, and was now blowing, not very
strong, from the southeast. I made up my mind what must be done. We
were probably far from the settlement and the rest of the party, and we
must go back. The wind was in our favor, and I knew I could sail the
boat. I had never sailed a boat in my life, and was only too glad to
have the opportunity, untrammelled by any interference.
I awoke Euphemia and told her what had happened. The two 'possums stood
upon the shore, and listened to our conversation. Euphemia was much
impressed by the whole affair, and for a time said nothing.
"We must sail her back, I suppose," she remarked at length, "but do you
know how to start her?"
"The hardest thing to do is to get her off the beach," I answered, "but
I think I can do that."
I rolled up my trousers, and with bare feet jumped out upon the sand.
The two 'possums retired a little, but still watched my proceedings.
After a great deal of pushing and twisting and lifting, I got the yacht
afloat, and then went on board to set the sail. After much pulling and
tugging, and making myself very warm, I hoisted the main-sail. I did
not trouble myself about the jib, one sail being enough for me to begin
with. As the wind was blowing in the direction in which we wished to
go, I let the sail out until it stood nearly at right angles with the
vessel, and was delighted to see that we immediately began to move
through the water. I took the tiller, and steered gradually toward the
middle of the river. The wind blew steadily, and the yacht moved
bravely on. I was as proud as a man drawn by a conquered lion, and as
happy as one who did not know that conquered lions may turn and rend.
Sometimes the vessel rolled so much that the end of the boom skimmed
the surface of the water, and sometimes the sail gave a little jerk and
flap, but I saw no necessity for changing our course, and kept our bow
pointed steadily up the river. I was delighted that the direction of
the wind enabled me to sail with what might be called a horizontal
deck. Of course, as the boatman afterward informed me, this was the
most dangerous way I could steer, for if the sail should suddenly
"jibe," there would be no knowing what would happen. Euphemia sat near
me, perfectly placid and cheerful, and her absolute trust in me gave
me renewed confidence and pleasure. "There is one great comfort," she
remarked, as she sat gazing into the water,--"if anything should happen
to the boat, we can get out and walk."
There was force in this remark, for the Indian River in some of its
widest parts is very shallow, and we could now plainly see the bottom,
a few feet below us.
"Is that the reason you have seemed so trustful and content?" I asked.
"That is the reason," said Euphemia. On we went and on, the yacht
seeming sometimes a little restive and impatient, and sometimes rolling
more than I could see any necessity for, but still it proceeded.
Euphemia sat in the shadow of the cabin, serene and thoughtful, and I,
holding the tiller steadily amidship, leaned back and gazed up into the
clear blue sky.
In the midst of my gazing there came a shock that knocked the tiller
out of my hand. Euphemia sprang to her feet and screamed; there were
screams and shouts on the other side of the sail, which seemed to be
wrapping itself about some object I could not see. In an instant
another mast beside our own appeared above the main-sail, and then a
man with a red face jumped on the forward deck. With a quick,
determined air, and without saying a word, or seeming to care for my
permission, he proceeded to lower our sail; then he stepped up on top
of the cabin, and looking down at me, inquired what in thunder I was
trying to do.
I made no answer, but looked steadily before me. Now that the sail was
down, I could see what had happened. I had collided with a yacht which
we had seen before. It was larger than ours, and contained a
grandfather and a grandmother, a father and a mother, several aunts,
and a great many children. They had started on the river the same day
as ourselves, but did not intend to take so extended a trip as ours was
to be. The whole party was now in the greatest confusion. I did not
understand what they said, nor did I attend to it. I was endeavoring,
for myself, to grasp the situation. Euphemia was calling to me from the
cabin, into which she had retreated; the man was still talking to me
from the cabin roof, and the people in the other boat were vociferating
and screaming; but I paid no attention to any one until I had satisfied
myself that nothing serious had happened. I had not run into them head
on, but had come up diagonally, and the side of our bow had struck the
side of their stern. The collision, as I afterward learned, had
happened in this wise: I had not seen the other boat because, lying
back as I had been, the sail concealed her from me, and they had not
seen us because their boatman was in the forward part of their cabin,
collecting materials for breakfast, and the tiller was left in charge
of one of the boys, who, like all the rest of his party who sat
outside, had discreetly turned his back to the sun.
The grandfather stood up in the stern. He wore a black silk hat, and
carried a heavy grape-vine cane. Unsteadily balancing himself on his
legs, and shaking his cane at me, he cried:--
"What is the meaning of this, sir? Are you trying to drown a whole
"If he'd run his bowsprit in among you," said the boatman from the
cabin roof, "he'd 'a' killed a lot of you before you'd been drowned."
Euphemia screamed to me to come to her; the father was standing on his
cabin roof, shouting something to me; the women in the other boat were
violently talking among themselves; some of the little children were
crying; the girls were hanging to the ladies, and all the boys were
clambering on board our boat. It was a time of great excitement, and
something must be instantly said by me. My decision was quick.
"Have you any tea?" I said, addressing the old gentleman.
"Tea!" he roared. "What do you mean by that?"
"We have plenty of coffee on board," I answered, "but some of our party
can't drink it. If you have any tea, I should like to borrow some. I
can send it to you when we reach a store."
From every person of the other party came, as in a chorus, the one
word, "Tea?" And Euphemia put her pale face out of the cabin, and said,
in a tone of wondering inquiry, "Tea?"
"Did you bang into us this way to borrow tea?" roared the old
"I did not intend, of course, to strike you so hard," I said, "and I am
sorry I did so, but I should like to borrow some tea."
Euphemia whispered to me:--
"We have tea."
I looked at her, and she locked her lips.
"Of course we can give you some tea, if you want some," said the
red-faced boatman, "but I never heerd of a thing like this since I was
first born, nor ever shall again, I hope."
"I don't want you to give me any tea," I said. "I shall certainly
return it, and a very little will do--just a handful."
The two boats had not drifted apart, for the father, standing on the
cabin roof, had held tightly to our rigging, and the boatman, still
muttering, went on board his vessel to get the tea. He brought it,
wrapped in a piece of a newspaper.
"Here comes your man," he said, pointing to a little boat which was
approaching us. "We told him we'd look out for you, but we didn't think
you'd come smashing into us like this."
In a few moments our boatman had pulled alongside, his face full of a
dark inquiry. He looked at me for authoritative information.
"I came here," I said to him, "after tea."
"Before breakfast, I should say!" cried the old gentleman. And every
one of his party burst out laughing.
Much was now said, chiefly by the party of the other part, but our
boatman paid little attention to any of it. The boys scrambled on board
their own vessel. We pushed apart, hoisted sail, and were soon speeding
"Good bye!" shouted the father, a genial man. "Let us know if you want
any more groceries, and we'll send them to you."
For six days from our time of starting we sailed down the Indian River.
Sometimes the banks were miles apart, and sometimes they were very near
each other; sometimes we would come upon a solitary house, or little
cluster of dwellings; and then there would be many, many miles of
wooded shore before another human habitation was to be seen. Inland, to
the west, stretched a vast expanse of lonely forest where panthers,
bears, and wild-cats prowled. To the east lay a long strip of land,
through whose tall palmettoes came the roar of the great ocean. The
blue sky sparkled over us every day; now and then we met a little
solitary craft; countless water-fowl were scattered about on the
surface of the stream; a school of mullet was usually jumping into the
air; an alligator might sometimes be seen steadily swimming across the
river, with only his nose and back exposed; and nearly always, either
to the right or to the left, going north or going south, were seven
pelicans, slowly flopping through the air.
A portion of the river, far southward, called "The Narrows," presented
a very peculiar scene. The banks were scarcely fifty feet apart, and
yet there were no banks. The river was shut in to the right by the
inland shore, and to the left by a far-reaching island, and yet there
was no inland shore, nor any island to the left. On either side were
great forests of mangrove trees, standing tiptoe on their myriad
down-dropping roots, each root midleg in the water. As far as we could
see among the trees, there was no sign of ground of any kind--nothing
but a grotesque network of roots, on which the forest stood. In this
green-bordered avenue of water, which extended nine or ten miles, the
thick foliage shut out the breeze, and our boatman was obliged to go
ahead in his little boat and tow us along.
"There are Indians out West," said Euphemia, as she sat gazing into the
mangroves, "who live on roots, but I don't believe they could live on
these. The pappooses would certainly fall through."
At Jupiter Inlet, about a hundred and fifty miles from our point of
starting, we went into camp, in which delightful condition we proposed
to remain for a week or more. There was no trouble whatever in finding
a suitable place for a camp. The spot selected was a point of land
swept by cool breezes, with a palmetto forest in the rear of it. On two
sides of the point stretched the clear waters of the river, while half
a mile to the east was Jupiter Inlet, on each side of which rolled and
tumbled the surf of the Atlantic. About a mile away was Jupiter
Light-house, the only human habitation within twenty miles. We built a
palmetto hut for a kitchen; we set up the tents in a permanent way; we
constructed a little pier for the yacht; we built a wash-stand, a
table, and a bench. And then, considering that we had actually gone
into camp, we got out our fishing-lines.
Fishing was to be the great work here. Near the Inlet, through which
the waters of the ocean poured into and out of our river, on a long,
sandy beach, we stood in line, two or three hours every day except
Sunday, and fished. Such fishing we had never imagined!--there were so
many fishes, and they were so big. The Paying Teller had never fished
in his life before he came to Florida. He had tried at St. Augustine,
with but little success. "If the sport had been to chuck fish into the
river," he had said, "that would be more in my line of business; but
getting them out of it did not seem to suit me." But here it was quite
a different thing. It was a positive delight to him, he said, to be
obliged so often to pay out his line.
One day, when tired of struggling with gamy blue-fish and powerful
cavalios (if that is the way to spell it), I wound up my line, and
looked about to see what the others were doing. The Paying Teller stood
near, on tiptoe, as usual, with his legs wide apart, his hat thrown
back, his eyes flashing over the water, and his right arm stretched far
out, ready for a jerk. Quee was farther along the beach. He had just
landed a fish, and was standing gazing meditatively upon it as it lay
upon the sand. The hook was still in its mouth, and every now and then
he would give the line a little pull, as if to see if there really was
a connection between it and the fish. Then he would stand a little
longer, and meditate a little more, still looking alternately at the
line and the fish. Having made up his mind, at last, that the two
things must be separated, he kneeled down upon his flopping prize and
proceeded meditatively to extract the hook. The teacher was struggling
at her line. Hand over hand she pulled it in. As it came nearer and
nearer, her fish swam wildly from side to side, making the tightened
line fairly hiss as it swept through the water. But still she pulled
and pulled, until, red and breathless, she landed her prize upon the
"Hurrah!" shouted the Paying Teller. "That's the biggest blue-fish
yet!" But he did not come to take the fish from the hook. He was
momentarily expecting a bite.
Euphemia was not to be seen. This did not surprise me, as she
frequently gave up fishing long before the others, and went to stroll
upon the sea-beach, a few hundred yards away. She was fond of fishing,
but it soon tired her. "If you want to know what it is like," she wrote
to a friend in the North, "just tie a long string around your boy
Charlie, and try to haul him out of the back yard into the house."
But Euphemia was not upon the sea-beach to-day. I walked a mile or so
along the sand, but did not find her. She had gone around the little
bluff to our shark-line. This was a long rope, like a clothes-line,
with a short chain at the end and a great hook, which was baited with a
large piece of fish. It was thrown out every day, the land end tied to
a stout stake driven into the sand, and the whole business given into
the charge of "the crew," who was to report if a shark should bite. But
to-day the little rascal had wandered away, and Euphemia was managing
"I thought I would try to catch a shark all by myself," she said. "I
wonder if there's one on the hook now. Would you mind feeling the
I laughed as I took the rope from her hand.
"If you had a shark on the hook, my dear," said I, "you would have no
doubt upon the subject."
"It would be a splendid thing to catch the first one," she said, "and
there must be lots of them in here, for we have seen their back fins so
I was about to answer this remark when I began to walk out into the
water. I did not at the time know exactly why I did this, but it seemed
as if some one had taken me by the hand and was leading me into the
depths. But the water splashing above my ankles and a scream from
Euphemia made me drop the line, which immediately spun out to its full
length, making the stake creak and move in the sand.
"Goodness gracious!" cried Euphemia, her face pale as the beach. "Isn't
it horrible? We've got one!"
"Horrible!" I cried. "Didn't you want to get one?" and seizing the axe,
which lay near by, I drove the stake deep down into the sand. "Now it
will hold him!" I cried. "He can't pull that out!"
"But how are we to pull him in?" exclaimed Euphemia. "This line is as
tight as a guitar-string."
This was true. I took hold of the rope, but could make no impression on
it. Suddenly it slackened in my hand.
"Hurrah!" I cried, "we may have him yet! But we must play him."
"Play him!" exclaimed Euphemia. "You can never play a huge creature
like that. Let me go and call some of the others to help."
"No, no!" I said. "Perhaps we can do it all by ourselves. Wind the line
quickly around the top of the stake as I pull it in."
Euphemia knelt down and rapidly wound several yards of the slack cord
around the stake. In a few moments it tightened again, jerking itself
out of my hand.
"There, now!" said Euphemia. "He is off again! You can never haul him
"Just wait," I said. "When he finds that he cannot break away he rushes
toward shore, trying to bite the line above the chain. Then I must haul
it in and you must wind it up. If you and I and the shark continue to
act in this way, perhaps, after a time, we may get him into shallow
water. But don't scream or shout. I don't want the others to know
anything about it."
Sure enough, in a minute or two the line slackened again, when it was
rapidly drawn in and wound around the stake.
"There he is!" exclaimed Euphemia. "I can see him just under the water,
The dark form of the shark, appearing at first like the shadow of a
little cloud, could be seen near the surface, about fifteen yards away.
Then his back fin rose, his tail splashed violently for an instant, and
he disappeared. Again the line was loosened, and again the slack was
hauled in and wound up. This was repeated, I don't know how many times,
when suddenly the shark in his desperation rushed into shallow water
and grounded himself. He would have floundered off in a few moments,
however, had we not quickly tightened the line. Now we could see him
plainly. He was eight or nine feet long and struggled violently,
exciting Euphemia so much that it was only by clapping her hand over
her mouth that she prevented herself from screaming. I would have
pulled the shark farther in shore, but this was impossible, and it was
needless to expect him to move himself into shallower water. So,
quickly rolling up my trousers, I seized the axe and waded in toward
the floundering creature.
"You needn't be afraid to go right up to him," said Euphemia. "So long
as he don't turn over on his back he can't bite you."
I had heard this bit of natural history before, but, nevertheless, I
went no nearer to the shark than was necessary in order to whack him
over the head with the axe. This I did several times, with such effect
that he soon became a dead shark.
When I came out triumphant, Euphemia seized me in her arms and kissed
"This is perfectly splendid!" she said. "Who can show as big a fish as
this one? None of the others can ever crow over you again."
"Until one of them catches a bigger shark," I said.
"Which none of them ever will," said Euphemia, decidedly. "It isn't in
The boatman was now seen approaching in his boat to take the party back
to camp, and the "crew," having returned to his duty, was sent off in a
state of absolute amazement to tell the others to come and look at our
prize. Our achievement certainly created a sensation. Even the boatman
could find no words to express his astonishment. He waded in and
fastened a rope to the shark's tail, and then we all took hold and
hauled the great fish ashore.
"What is the good of it now you have got it?" asked Quee.
"Glory is some good!" exclaimed Euphemia.
"And I'm going to have you a belt made from a strip of its skin," I
This seemed to Euphemia a capital idea. She would be delighted to have
such a trophy of our deed, and the boatman was set to work to cut a
suitable strip from the fish. And this belt, having been properly
tanned, lined, and fitted with buckles, is now one of her favorite
adornments, and cost, I am bound to add, about three times as much as
any handsome leathern belt to be bought in the stores.
Every day the Paying Teller, his wife, and Quee carefully set down in
their note-books the weight of fish each individual had caught, with
all necessary details and specifications relating thereunto; every day
we wandered on the beach, or explored the tropical recesses of the
palmetto woods; every evening the boatman rowed over to the light-house
to have a bit of gossip, and to take thither the fish we did not need;
every day the sun was soft and warm, and the sky was blue; and every
morning, going oceanward, and every evening, going landward, seven
pelicans flew slowly by our camp.
My greatest desire at this time was to shoot a pelican, to have him
properly prepared, and to take him to Rudder Grange, where, suitably
set up, with his wings spread out, full seven feet from tip to tip, he
would be a grand trophy and reminder of these Indian River days. This
was the reason why, nearly every morning and every evening, I took a
shot at these seven pelicans. But I never hit one of them. We had only
a shot-gun, and the pelicans flew at a precautionary distance; but,
being such big birds, they always looked to me much nearer than they
were. Euphemia earnestly desired that I should have a pelican, and
although she always wished I should hit one of these, she was always
glad when I did not.
"Think how mournful it would be," she said, "if they should take their
accustomed flights, morning and evening, with one of their number
"Repeating Wordsworth's verses, I suppose," remarked the little
I had been disappointed in the number of pelicans we had seen. I knew
that Florida was one of the homes of the pelican, and I had not
expected to see these birds merely in small detachments. But our
boatman assured me that on our return trip he would give me a chance of
seeing and shooting as many pelicans as I could desire. We would
touch at Pelican Island, which was inhabited entirely by these birds,
and whence the parties of seven were evidently sent out.
When we had had all the fishing we wanted, we broke up our camp, and
started northward. We had all been very happy and contented during our
ten days' sojourn in this delightful place; but when at last our
departure was determined upon, the Paying Teller became possessed with
a wild desire to go, go, go. There was some reason, never explained nor
fully expressed, why no day, hour, minute, or second should be lost in
speeding to the far Northwest. The boatman, too, impelled by what
impulse I know not, seemed equally anxious to get home. As for the
Paying Teller's "group," it always did exactly as he wished. Therefore,
although Euphemia and I would have been glad to linger here and there
upon our homeward way, we could not gainsay the desire of the majority
of the party, and consequently we sailed northward as fast as wind and
sometimes oars would take us.
Only one cause for delay seemed tolerable to the Paying Teller. This
was to stop at every post-office. We had received but one mail while in
camp, which had been brought in a sail-boat from an office twenty miles
away. But the Paying Teller had given and written the most intricate
and complex directions for the retention or forwarding of his mail to
every postmaster in the country we had passed through, and these
directions, as we afterward found, had so puzzled and unsettled the
minds of these postmasters that for several weeks his letters had been
moving like shuttlecocks up and down the St. John's and Indian
rivers--never stopping anywhere, never being delivered, but crossing
and recrossing each other as if they were imbued with their owner's
desire to go, go, go. Some of the post-offices where we stopped were
lonely little buildings with no other habitation near. These we usually
found shut up, being opened only on mail-days, and in such cases
nothing could be done but to slip a protesting postal into the little
slit in the wall apparently intended for letters. Whether these postals
were eaten by rats or read by the P.M.'s, we never discovered. Wherever
an office was found open, we left behind us an irate postmaster
breathing all sorts of contemplated vengeance upon the disturbers of
his peace. We heard of letters that had been sent north and sent south,
but there never were any at the particular place where we happened to
be, and I suppose that the accumulated mail of the Paying Teller may
for several years drop gradually upon him through the meshes of the
There were a great many points of interest which we had passed on our
downward trip, the boatman assuring us that, with the wind we had, and
which might cease at any moment, the great object was to reach Jupiter
as soon as possible, and that we would stop at the interesting places
on the way up. But now the wind, according to his reasoning, made it
necessary that we should again push forward as fast as we could; and,
as I said before, the irresistible attraction of the Northwest so
worked upon the Paying Teller that he was willing to pause nowhere,
during the daytime, but at a post-office. At one place, however, I was
determined to land. This was Pelican Island. The boatman, paying no
attention to his promise to stop here and give me an opportunity to
shoot one of these birds, declared, when near the place, that it would
never do, with such a wind, to drop anchor for a trifle like a pelican.
The Paying Teller and Quee also strongly objected to a stop; and, while
the teacher had a great desire to investigate the subject of
ornithology, especially when exemplified by such a subject as a
pelican, she felt herself obliged to be loyal to her "group," and so
quietly gave her voice to go on. But I, supported by Euphemia, remained
so firm that we anchored a short distance from Pelican Island.
None of the others had any desire to go ashore, and so I, with the gun
and Euphemia, took the boat and rowed to the island. While we were here
the others determined to sail to the opposite side of the river to look
for a little post-office, the existence of which the boatman had not
mentioned until it had been determined to make this stoppage here.
As we approached the island we saw hundreds of pelicans, some flying
about, some sitting on trunks and branches of dead trees, and some
waddling about on the shore.
"You might as well shoot two of them," said Euphemia, "and then we
will select the better one to take to Rudder Grange."
The island was very boggy and muddy, and, before I had found a good
place to land, and had taken up the gun from the bow of the boat, every
pelican in sight took wing and flew away. I stood up and fired both
barrels at the retreating flock. They swerved and flew oceanward, but
not one of them fell. I helped Euphemia on shore, and then, gun in
hand, I made my way as well as I could to the other end of the island.
There might be some deaf old fellows left who had not made up their
minds to fly. The ground was very muddy, and drift-wood and under-brush
obstructed my way. Still, I pressed on, and went nearly half around the
island, finding, however, not a single pelican.
Soon I heard Euphemia's voice, calling loud. She seemed to be about the
centre of the island, and I ran toward her.
"I've got one!" I heard her cry, before I came in sight of her. She was
sitting at the root of a crooked, dead tree. In front of her she held,
one hand grasping each leg, what seemed to me to be an ungainly and
wingless goose. All about her the ground was soft and boggy. Her
clothes were muddy, her face was red, and the creature she held was
"What on earth have you got?" I exclaimed, approaching as near as I
could, "and how did you get out there?"
"Don't you come any closer!" she cried. "You'll sink up to your waist!
I got here by treading on the little hummocks and holding on to that
dead branch; but don't you take hold of it, for you'll break it off,
and then I can't get back."
"But what is that thing?" I repeated.
"It's a young pelican," she replied. "I found a lot of nests on the
ground over there, and this was in one of them. I chased it all about,
until it flopped out here and hid itself on the other side of this
tree. Then I came out quietly and caught it. But how am I going to get
it to you?"
This seemed, indeed, a problem. Euphemia declared that she needed both
hands to work her way back by the means of the long, horizontal limb
which had assisted her passage to the place where she sat, and she also
needed both hands to hold her prize. It was likewise plain that I could
not get to her. Indeed, I could not see how her light steps had taken
her over the soft and marshy ground that lay between us. I suggested
that she should throw the pelican to me. This she declined to do.
"I could never throw it so far," she said, "and it would surely get
away. I don't want to lose this pelican, for I believe it is the last
one on the island. If there are other young ones, they have scuttled
off by this time, and I should dreadfully hate to go back to the yacht
without any pelican at all."
"I don't call that much of one," I said.
"It's a real pelican for all that," she replied, "and about as curious
a bird as I ever saw. Its wings won't stretch out seven feet, to be
"About seven inches," I suggested.
"But it is a great deal easier to carry a young one like this," she
persisted, "and I expect a baby pelican is a much more uncommon sight
in the North than a grown one."
"No doubt of it," I said. "We must keep him now you've got him. Can't
you kill him?"
"I've no way of killing him," returned Euphemia. "I wonder if you could
shoot him if I were to hold him out."
This, with a shot-gun, I positively declined to do. Even if I had had a
rifle, I suggested that she might swerve. For a few moments we remained
nonplussed. I could not get to Euphemia at all, and she could not get
to me unless she released her bird, and this she was determined not to
"Euphemia," I said, presently, "the ground seems hard a little way in
front of you. If you step over there, I will go out on this strip,
which seems pretty solid. Then I'll be near enough to you for you to
swing the bird to me, and I'll catch hold of him."
Euphemia arose and did as I told her, and we soon found ourselves about
six feet apart. She took the bird by one leg and swung it toward me.
With outstretched arm I caught it by the other foot, but as I did so I
noticed that Euphemia was growing shorter, and also felt myself sinking
in the bog. Instantly I entreated Euphemia to stand perfectly still,
for, if we struggled or moved, there was no knowing into what more
dreadful depths we might get. Euphemia obeyed me, and stood quite
still, but I could feel that she clutched the pelican with desperate
"How much farther down do you think we shall sink?" she asked, her
voice trembling a little.
"Not much farther," I said. "I am sure there is firm ground beneath us,
but it will not do to move. If we should fall down, we might not be
able to get up again."
"How glad I am," she said, "that we are not entirely separated, even if
it is only a baby pelican that joins us!"
"Indeed, I am glad!" I said, giving the warm pressure to the pelican's
leg that I would have given to Euphemia's hand, if I could have reached
her. Euphemia looked up at me so confidently that I could but believe
that in some magnetic way that pressure had been transmitted through
"Do you think they will come back?" she said, directly.
"Oh, yes," I replied, "there's no manner of doubt of that."
"They'll be dreadfully cross," she said.
"I shouldn't wonder," I replied. "But it makes very little difference
to me whether they are or not."
"It ought to make a difference to you," said Euphemia. "They might
injure us very much."
"If they tried anything of the kind," I replied, "they'd find it worse
for them than for us."
"That is boasting," said Euphemia, a little reproachfully, "and it
does not sound like you."
I made no answer to this, and then she asked:--
"What do you think they will do when they come?"
"I think they will put a plank out here and pull us out."
Euphemia looked at me an instant, and then her eyes filled with tears.
"Oh, dear!" she exclaimed, "it's dreadful! You know they couldn't do
it. Your mind is giving way!"
She sobbed, and I could feel the tremor run through the pelican.
"What do you mean?" I cried, anxiously. "My mind giving way?"
"Yes--yes," she sobbed. "If you were in your right senses--you'd never
think--that pelicans could bring a plank."
I looked at her in astonishment.
"Pelicans!" I exclaimed. "Did you think I meant the pelicans were
"Of course," she said. "That's what I was asking you about."
"I wasn't thinking of pelicans at all," I answered "I was talking of
the people in the yacht."
Euphemia looked at me, and then the little pelican between us began to
shake violently as we laughed.
"I know people sometimes do lose their minds when they get into great
danger," she said, apologetically.
"Hello!" came a voice from the water. "What are you laughing about?"
"Come and see," I shouted back, "and perhaps you will laugh, too."
The three men came; they had to wade ashore; and when they came they
laughed. They brought a plank, and with a good deal of trouble they
drew us out, but Euphemia would not let go of her leg of the little
pelican until she was sure I had a tight hold of mine.
Day after day we now sailed northward, until we reached the little town
at which we had embarked. Here we discarded our blue flannels and three
half-grown beards, and slowly made our way through woods and lakes and
tortuous streams to the upper waters of the St. John's. In this region
the population of the river shores seemed to consist entirely of
alligators, in which monsters Euphemia was greatly interested. But she
seldom got a near view of one, for the sportsmen on our little steamer
blazed away at every alligator as soon as it came into distant sight;
and, although the ugly creatures were seldom hit, they made haste to
tumble into the water or disappear among the tall reeds. Euphemia was
very much annoyed at this.
"I shall never get a good close look at an alligator at all," she said.
"I am going to speak to the captain."
The captain, a big, good-natured man, listened to her, and entirely
sympathized with her.
"Tom," said he to the pilot, "when you see another big 'gator on shore,
don't sing out to nobody, but call me, and slow up."
It was not long before chocolate-colored Tom called to the captain, and
rang the bell to lessen speed.
"Gentlemen," said the captain, walking forward to the group of
sportsmen, "there's a big 'gator ahead there, but don't none of you
fire at him. He's copyrighted."
The men with the guns did not understand him, but none of them fired,
and Euphemia and the other ladies soon had the satisfaction of seeing
an enormous alligator lying on the bank, within a dozen yards of the
boat. The great creature raised its head, and looked at us in apparent
amazement at not being shot at. Then, probably considering that we did
not know the customs of the river, or were out of ammunition, he slowly
slipped away among the reeds with an air as if, like Mr. Turveydrop, he
had done his duty in showing himself, and if we did not take advantage
of it, it was no affair of his.
"If we only had a fellow like that for a trophy!" ejaculated Euphemia.
"He'd do very well for a trophy," I answered, "but if, in order to get
him, I had to hold him by one leg while you held him by another, I
should prefer a baby pelican."
Our trip down the St. John's met with no obstacles except those
occasioned by the Paying Teller's return tickets. He had provided
himself and his group with all sorts of return tickets from the various
points he had expected to visit in Florida. These were good only on
particular steamboats, and could be used only to go from one particular
point to another. Fortunately he had lost several of them, but there
were enough left to give us a good deal of trouble. We did not wish to
break up the party, and consequently we embarked and disembarked
whenever the Paying Teller's group did so; and thus, in time, we all
reached that widespread and sandy city which serves for the gate of
From here, the Paying Teller and his group, with complicated tickets,
the determinate scope and purpose of which no one man living could be
expected to understand, hurried wildly toward the far Northwest; while
we, in slower fashion, returned to Rudder Grange.
There, in a place of honor over the dining-room door, stands the baby
pelican, its little flippers wide outstretched.
"How often I think," Euphemia sometimes says, "of that moment of peril,
when the only actual bond of union between us was that little pelican!"
THE RUDDER GRANGERS IN ENGLAND.
It was mainly due to Pomona that we went to Europe at all. For years
Euphemia and I had been anxious to visit the enchanted lands on the
other side of the Atlantic, but the obstacles had always been very
great, and the matter had been indefinitely postponed. Pomona and Jonas
were still living with us, and their little girl was about two years
old. Pomona continued to read a great deal, but her husband's influence
had diverted her mind toward works of history and travel, and these she
devoured with eager interest. But she had not given up her old fancy
for romance. Nearly everything she read was mingled in her mind with
Middle Age legends and tales of strange adventure. Euphemia's frequent
reference to a trip to Europe had fired Pomona's mind, and she was now
more wildly anxious for the journey than any of us. She believed that
it would entirely free Jonas from the chills and fever that still
seemed to permeate his being. And besides this, what unutterable joy to
tread the sounding pavements of those old castles of which she had so
often read! Pomona further perceived that my mental and physical
systems required the rest and change of scene which could be given only
by a trip to Europe. When this impression had been produced upon
Euphemia's mind, the matter, to all intents and purposes, was settled.
A tenant, who I suspect was discovered and urged forward by the
indefatigable Pomona, made an application for a year's lease of our
house and farm. In a business view I found I could make the journey
profitable, and there seemed to be no reason why we should not go, and
It appeared to be accepted as a foregone conclusion by Euphemia and
Pomona that the latter, with her husband and child, should accompany
us; but of this I could not, at first, see the propriety.
"We shall not want servants on a trip like that," I said; "and although
I like Jonas and Pomona very much, they are not exactly the people I
should prefer as travelling companions."
"If you think you are going to leave Pomona behind," said Euphemia,
"you are vastly mistaken. Oceans and continents are free to her, and
she will follow us at a distance if we don't let her go with us. She
was quite content not to go with us to Florida, but she is just one
tingle from head to foot to go to Europe. We have talked the whole
thing over, and I know that she will be of the greatest possible use
and comfort to me in ever so many ways; and Jonas will be needed to
take care of the baby. Jonas has money, and they will pay a great part
of their own expenses, and will not cost us much, and you needn't be
afraid that Pomona will make us ashamed of ourselves, if we happen to
be talking to the Dean of Westminster or the Archbishop of Canterbury,
by pushing herself into the conversation."
"Indeed," said I, "if we ever happen to be inveigled into a confab with
those dignitaries, I hope Pomona will come to the front and take my
The only person not entirely satisfied with the proposed journey was
"I don't like trapsin' round," said he, "from place to place, and never
did. If I could go to some one spot and stay there with the child,
while the rest of you made trips, I'd be satisfied, but I don't like
keepin' on the steady go."
This plan was duly considered, and the suitability of certain points
was discussed. London was not believed sufficiently accessible for
frequent return trips; Paris could scarcely be called very central;
Naples would not be suitable at all times of the year, and Cairo was a
little too far eastward. A number of minor places were suggested, but
Jonas announced that he had thought of a capital location, and being
eagerly asked to name it, he mentioned Newark, New Jersey.
"I'd feel at home there," he said, "and it's about as central as any
place, when you come to look on the map of the world."
But he was not allowed to remain in his beloved New Jersey, and we took
him with us to Europe.
We did not, like the rest of the passengers on the steamer, go directly
from Liverpool to London, but stopped for a couple of days in the
quaint old town of Chester. "If we don't see it now," said Euphemia,
"we never shall see it. When we once start back we shall be raving
distracted to get home, and I wouldn't miss Chester for anything."
"There is an old wall there," said the enthusiastic Pomona to her
husband, "built by Julius Caesar before the Romans became Catholics,
that you kin walk on all round the town; an' a tower on it which the
king of England stood on to see his army defeated, though of course it
wasn't put up for that purpose; besides, more old-timenesses which the
book tells of than we can see in a week."
"I hope," said Jonas, wearily shifting the child from one arm to the
other, "that there'll be some good place there to sit down."
When we reached Chester, we went directly to the inn called "The Gentle
Boar," which was selected by Euphemia entirely on account of its name,
and we found it truly a quaint and cosey little house. Everything was
early English and delightful. The coffee-rooms, the bar-maids, the
funny little apartments, the old furniture, and "a general air of the
Elizabethan era," as Euphemia remarked.
"I should almost call it Henryan," said Pomona, gazing about her in
We soon set out on our expeditions of sight-seeing, but we did not keep
together. Euphemia and I made our way to the old cathedral. The ancient
verger who took us about the edifice was obliged to show us everything,
Euphemia being especially anxious to see the stall in the choir which
had belonged to Charles Kingsley, and was much disturbed to find that
under the seat the monks of the fifteenth century had carved the
subject of one of Baron Munchausen's most improbable tales.
"Of course," said she, "they did not know that Charles Kingsley was to
have this stall, or they would have cut something more appropriate."
"Those old monks 'ad a good deal of fun in them," said the verger,
"hand they were particular fond of showing up quarrels between men and
their wives, which they could do, you see, without 'urting each other's
feelings. These queer carvings are hunder the seats, which turn hup in
this way, and I've no doubt they looked at them most of the time they
were kneeling on the cold floor saying their long, Latin prayers."
"Yes, indeed!" said Euphemia. "It must have been a great comfort to the
"We went all through that cathedral," exclaimed Pomona, when she came
in the next day. "The old virgin took us everywhere."
"Verger," exclaimed Euphemia.
"Well, he looked so like a woman in his long gown," said Pomona, "I
don't wonder I mixed him. We put two shillin's in his little box,
though one was enough, as I told Jonas, and then he took us round and
pointed out all the beautiful carvin's and things on the choir, the
transits, and the nave, but when Jonas stopped before the carved figger
of the devil chawin' up a sinner, and asked if that was the transit of
a knave, the old feller didn't know what he meant. An' then we wandered
alone through them ruined cloisters and subterraneal halls, an' old
tombstones of the past, till I felt I don't know how. There was a girl
in New Jersey who used to put on airs because her family had lived in
one place for a hundred years. When I git back I'll laugh that girl to
After two days of delight in this quaint old town we took the train
Londonward. Without consultation Jonas bought tickets for himself and
wife, while I bought Euphemia's and mine. Consequently our servants
travelled first-class, while we went in a second-class carriage. We
were all greatly charmed with the beautiful garden country through
which we passed. It was harvest time, and Jonas was much impressed by
the large crops gathered from the little fields.
"I might try to do something of that kind when I go back," he afterward
said, "but I expect I'd have to dig a little hole for each grain of
wheat, and hoe it, and water it, and tie the blade to a stick if it was
"An' a nice easy time you'd have of it," said Pomona; "for you might
plant your wheat field round a stump, and set there, and farm all
summer, without once gettin' up."
"And that is Windsor!" exclaimed Euphemia, as we passed within view of
that royal castle. "And there lives the Sovereign of our Mother
I was trying to puzzle out in what relationship to the Sovereign this
placed us, when Euphemia continued:--
"I am bound to go to Windsor Castle! I have examined into every style
of housekeeping, French flats and everything, and I must see how the
Queen lives. I expect to get ever so many ideas."
"All right," said I; "and we will visit the royal stables, too, for I
intend to get a new buggy when we get back."
We determined that on reaching London we would go directly to lodgings,
not only because this was a more economical way of living, but because
it was the way in which many of Euphemia's favorite heroes and heroines
had lived in London.
"I want to keep house," she said, "in the same way that Charles and
Mary Lamb did. We will toast a bit of muffin or a potted sprat, and
we'll have a hamper of cheese and a tankard of ale, just like those old
English poets and writers."
"I think you are wrong about the hamper of cheese," I said. "It
couldn't have been as much as that, but I have no doubt we'll have a
We got into a four-wheeled cab, Jonas on the seat with the driver, and
the luggage on top. I gave the man a card with the address of the house
to which we had been recommended. There was a number, the name of a
street, the name of a place, the name of a square, and initials
denoting the quarter of the town.
"It will confuse the poor man dreadfully," said Euphemia. "It would
have been a great deal better just to have said where the house was."
The man, however, drove to the given address without mistake. The house
was small, but as there were no other lodgers, there was room enough
for us. Euphemia was much pleased with the establishment. The house was
very well furnished, and she had expected to find things old and
stuffy, as London lodgings always were in the books she had read.
"But if the landlady will only steal our tea," she said, "it will make
it seem more like the real thing."
As we intended to stay some time in London, where I had business to
transact for the firm with which I was engaged, we immediately began to
make ourselves as much at home as possible. Pomona, assisted by Jonas,
undertook at once the work of the house. To this the landlady, who kept
a small servant, somewhat objected, as it had been her custom to attend
to the wants of her lodgers.
"But what's the good of Jonas an' me bein' here," said Pomona to us,
"if we don't do the work? Of course, if there was other lodgers, that
would be different, but as there's only our own family, where's the
good of that woman and her girl doin' anything?"
And so, as a sort of excuse for her being in Europe, she began to get
the table ready for supper, and sent Jonas out to see if there was any
place where he could buy provisions. Euphemia and I were not at all
certain that the good woman of the house would be satisfied with this
state of things; but still, as Jonas and Pomona were really our
servants, it seemed quite proper that they should do our work. And so
we did not interfere, although Euphemia found it quite sad, she said,
to see the landlady standing idly about, gazing solemnly upon Pomona
as she dashed from place to place engaged with her household duties.
After we had been in the house for two or three days, Pomona came into
our sitting-room one evening and made a short speech.
"I've settled matters with the woman here," she said, "an' I think
you'll like the way I've done it. I couldn't stand her follerin' me
about, an' sayin' 'ow they did things in Hingland, while her red-faced
girl was a-spendin' the days on the airy steps, a-lookin' through the
railin's. 'Now, Mrs. Bowlin',' says I, 'it'll just be the ruin of you
an' the death of me if you keep on makin' a picter of yourself like
that lonely Indian a-sittin' on a pinnacle in the jographys, watchin'
the inroads of civilization, with a locomotive an' a cog-wheel in
front, an' the buffalo an' the grisly a-disappearin' in the distance.
Now it'll be much better for all of us,' says I, 'if you'll git down
from your peak, and try to make up your mind that the world has got to
move. Aint there some place where you kin go an' be quiet an'
comfortable, an' not a-woundin' your proud spirit a-watchin' me bake
hot rolls for breakfast an' sich?' An' then she says she'd begun to
think pretty much that way herself, an' that she had a sister a-livin'
down in the Sussex Mews, back of Gresham Terrace, Camberwell Square,
Hankberry Place, N.W. by N., an' she thought she might as well go there
an' stay while we was here. An' so I says that was just the thing, and
the sooner done the happier she'd be. An' I went up stairs and helped
her pack her trunk, which is a tin one, which she calls her box, an' I
got her a cab, an' she's gone."
"What!" I cried; "gone! Has she given up her house entirely to us?"
"For the time bein' she has," answered Pomona, "for she saw very well
it was better thus, an' she's comin' every week to git her money, an'
to see when we're goin' to give notice. An' the small girl has been
sent back to the country."
It was impossible for Euphemia and myself to countenance this
outrageous piece of eviction; but in answer to our exclamations of
surprise and reproach, Pomona merely remarked that she had done it for
the woman's own good, and, as she was perfectly satisfied, she didn't
suppose there was any harm done; and, at any rate, it would be "lots
nicer" for us. And then she asked Euphemia what she was going to have
for breakfast the next morning, so that Jonas could go out to the
different mongers and get the things.
"Now," said Euphemia, when Pomona had gone down stairs, "I really feel
as if I had a foothold on British soil. It doesn't seem as if it was
quite right, but it is perfectly splendid."
And so it was. From that moment we set up an English Rudder Grange in
the establishment which Pomona had thus rudely wrenched, as it were,
from the claws of the British Lion. We endeavored to live as far as
possible in the English style, because we wanted to try the manners and
customs of every country. We had tea for breakfast and ale for
luncheon, and we ate shrimps, prawns, sprats, saveloys, and Yarmouth
bloaters. We "took in the Times," and, to a certain extent, we
endeavored to cultivate the broad vowels. Some of these things we did
not like, but we felt bound to allow them a fair trial.
We did not give ourselves up to sight-seeing as we had done at Chester,
because now there was plenty of time to see London at our leisure. In
the mornings I attended to my business, and in the afternoons Euphemia
and I generally went out to visit some of the lions of the grand old
Pomona and Jonas also went out whenever a time could be conveniently
arranged, which was done nearly every day, for Euphemia was anxious
they should see everything. They almost always took their child, and to
this Euphemia frequently objected.
"What's the good," she said, "of carrying a baby not two years old to
the Tower of London, the British Museum, and the Chapel of Henry VII.?
She can't take any interest in the smothered princes, or the Assyrian
remnants. If I am at home, I can look after her as well as not."
"But you see, ma'am," said Pomona, "we don't expect the baby'll ever
come over here ag'in, an' when she gits older, I'll tell her all about
these things, an' it'll expan' her intelleck a lot more when she feels
she's seed 'em all without knowin' it. To be sure, the monnyments of
bygone days don't always agree with her; for Jone set her down on the
tomb of Chaucer the other day, an' her little legs got as cold as the
tomb itself, an' I told him that there was too big a difference between
a tomb nigh four hundred years old an' a small baby which don't date
back two years, for them to be sot together that way; an' he promised
to be more careful after that. He gouged a little piece out of
Chaucer's tomb, an' as we went home we bought a copy of the old
gentleman's poems, so as we could see what reason there was for keepin'
him so long, an' at night I read Jone two of the Canterbury Tales. 'You
wouldn't 'a' thought,' says Jone, 'jus' by lookin' at that little piece
of plaster, that the old fellow could 'a' got up such stories as
"What I want to see more'n anything else," said Pomona to us one day,
"is a real lord, or some kind of nobleman of high degree. I've allers
loved to read about 'em in books, and I'd rather see one close to, than
all the tombs and crypts and lofty domes you could rake together; an' I
don't want to see 'em neither in the streets, nor yet in a House of
Parliament, which aint in session; for there, I don't believe, dressin'
in common clothes as they do, that I could tell 'em from other people.
What I want is to penetrate into the home of one of 'em, and see him as
he really is. It's only there that his noble blood'll come out."
"Pomona," cried Euphemia, in accents of alarm, "don't you try
penetrating into any nobleman's home. You will get yourself into
trouble, and the rest of us, too."
"Oh, I'm not a-goin' to git you into any trouble, ma'am," said Pomona;
"you needn't be afeard of that." And she went about her household
A few days after this, as Euphemia and I were going to the Tower of
London in a Hansom cab--and it was one of Euphemia's greatest delights
to be bowled over the smooth London pavements in one of these vehicles,
with the driver out of sight, and the horse in front of us just as if
we were driving ourselves, only without any of the trouble, and on
every corner one of the names of the streets we had read about in
Dickens and Thackeray, and with the Sampson Brasses, and the
Pecksniffs, and the Mrs. Gamps, and the Guppys, and the Sir Leicester
Dedlocks, and the Becky Sharps, and the Pendennises, all walking about
just as natural as in the novels--we were surprised to see Pomona
hurrying along the sidewalk alone. The moment our eyes fell upon her a
feeling of alarm arose within us. Where was she going with such an
intent purpose in her face, and without Jonas? She was walking
westward, and we were going to the east. At Euphemia's request I
stopped the cab, jumped out, and ran after her, but she had disappeared
in the crowd.
"She is up to mischief," said Euphemia.
But it was of no use to worry our minds on the subject, and we soon
forgot, in the ancient wonders of the Tower, the probable
eccentricities of our modern handmaid.
We returned; night came on; but Pomona was still absent. Jonas did not
know where she was, and was very much troubled; and the baby, which had
been so skilfully kept in the background by its mother that, so far, it
had never annoyed us at all, now began to cry, and would not be
comforted. Euphemia, with the assistance of Jonas, prepared the evening
meal, and when we had nearly eaten it, Pomona came home. Euphemia asked
no questions, although she was burning with curiosity to know where
Pomona had been, considering that it was that young woman's duty to
inform her without being asked.
When Pomona came in to wait on us, she acted as if she expected to be
questioned, and was perfectly willing to answer, but Euphemia stood
upon her dignity, and said nothing. At last Pomona could endure it no
longer, and standing with a tray in her hand, she exclaimed:--
"I'm sorry I made you help git the dinner, ma'am, and I wouldn't 'a'
done it for anything, but the fact is I've been to see a lord, an' was
"What!" cried Euphemia, springing to her feet; "you don't mean that!"
And I was so amazed that I sat and looked at Pomona without saying a
"Yes," cried Pomona, her eyes sparkling with excitement, "I've seen a
lord, and trod his floors, and I'll tell you all about it. You know I
was boun' to do it, and I wanted to go alone, for if Jone was with me
he'd be sure to put in some of his queer sayin's an' ten to one hurt
the man's feelin's, and cut off the interview. An' as Jone said this
afternoon he felt tired, with some small creeps in his back, an' didn't
care to go out, I knew my time had come, and said I'd go for a walk.
Day before yesterday I went up to a policeman an' I asked him if he
could tell me if a lord, or a earl, or a duke lived anywhere near here.
First he took me for crazy, an' then he began to ask questions which he
thought was funny, but I kep' stiff to the mark, an' I made him tell me
where a lord did live,--about five blocks from here. So I fixed things
all ready an' today I went there."
"You didn't have the assurance to suppose he'd see you?" cried
"No, indeed, I hadn't," said Pomona, "at least under common
circumstances. You may be sure I racked my brains enough to know what I
should do to meet him face to face. It wouldn't do to go in the common
way, such as ringin' at the front door and askin' for him, an' then
offerin' to sell him furniter-polish for his pianner-legs. I knowed
well enough that any errand like that would only bring me face to face
with his bailiff, or his master of hounds, or something of that kind.
So, at last, I got a plan of my own, an' I goes up the steps and rings
the bell, an' when the flunkey, with more of an air of gen'ral
upliftedness about him than any one I'd seen yet, excep' Nelson on top
of his pillar, opened the door an' looked at me, I asked him,--
"'Is Earl Cobden in?'
"At this the man opened his eyes, an' remarked:--
"'What uv it if he is?'
"Then I answers, firmly:--
"'If he's in, I want yer to take him this letter, an' I'll wait here.'"
"You don't mean to say," cried Euphemia, "that you wrote the earl a
"Yes, I did," continued Pomona, "and at first the man didn't seem
inclined to take it. But I held it out so steady that he took it an'
put it on a little tray, whether nickel-plated or silver I couldn't
make out, and carried it up the widest and splendidest pair o' stairs
that I ever see in a house jus' intended to be lived in. When he got to
the fust landin' he met a gentleman, and give him the letter. When I
saw this I was took aback, for I thought it was his lordship a-comin'
down, an' I didn't want to have no interview with a earl at his front
door. But the second glance I took at him showed me that it wasn't him.
He opened it, notwithstanding', an' read it all through from beginnin'
to end. When he had done it he looked down at me, and then he went back
up stairs a-follered by the flunk, which last pretty soon came down
ag'in an' told me I was to go up. I don't think I ever felt so much
like a wringed-out dish-cloth as I did when I went up them palatial
stairs. But I tried to think of things that would prop me up. P'r'aps,
I thought, my ancient ancestors came to this land with his'n; who
knows? An' I might 'a' been switched off on some female line, an' so
lost the name an' estates. At any rate, be brave! With such thoughts as
these I tried to stiffen my legs, figgeratively speakin'. We went
through two or three rooms (I hadn't time to count 'em) an' then I was
showed into the lofty presence of the earl. He was standin' by the
fire-place, an' the minnit my eyes lit upon him I knowed it was him."
"Why, how was that?" cried Euphemia and myself almost in the same
"I knowed him by his wax figger," continued Pomona, "which Jone and I
see at Madame Tussaud's wax-works. They've got all the head people of
these days there now, as well as the old kings and the pizeners. The
clothes wasn't exactly the same, though very good on each, an' there
was more of an air of shortenin' of the spine in the wax figger than in
the other one. But the likeness was awful strikin'.
"'Well, my good woman,' says he, a-holdin' my open letter in his hand,
'so you want to see a lord, do you?'"
"What on earth did you write to him?" exclaimed Euphemia. "You mustn't
go on a bit further until you have told what was in your letter."
"Well," said Pomona, "as near as I can remember, it was like this:
'_William, Lord Cobden, Earl of Sorsetshire an' Derry. Dear Sir. Bein'
brought up under Republican institutions, in the land of the free--'_ I
left out '_the home of the brave_' because there wasn't no use crowin'
about that jus' then--'_I haven't had no oppertunity of meetin' with a
individual of lordly blood. Ever since I was a small girl takin' books
from the circulatin' libery, an' obliged to read out loud with divided
sillerbles, I've drank in every word of the tales of lords and other
nobles of high degree, that the little shops where I gen'rally got my
books, an' some with the pages out at the most excitin' parts,
contained. An' so I asks you now, Sir Lord--_' I did put _humbly_, but
I scratched that out, bein' an American woman--'_to do me the favor of
a short audience. Then, when I reads about noble earls an' dukes in
their brilliant lit halls an' castles, or mounted on their champin'
chargers, a-leadin' their trusty hordes to victory amid the glittering
minarets of fame, I'll know what they looks like._' An' then I signed
"'Yes, sir,' says I, in answer to his earlship's question," said
Pomona, taking up her story, "'I did want to see one, upon my word.'
"'An' now that you have seen him,' says he, 'what do you think of him?'
"Now, I had made up my mind before I entered this ducal pile, or put my
foot on one ancestral stone, that I'd be square and honest through the
whole business, and not try no counterfeit presentiments with the earl.
So I says to him:--
"'The fust thing I thinks is, that you've got on the nicest suit of
clothes that I've ever seed yit, not bein' exactly Sunday clothes, and
yit fit for company, an' if money can buy 'em--an' men's clothes is
cheap enough here, dear only knows--I'm goin' to have a suit jus' like
it for Jone, my husband.' It was a kind o' brown mixed stuff, with a
little spot of red in it here an' there, an' was about as gay for plain
goods, an' as plain for gay goods, as anythin' could be, an' 'twas easy
enough to see that it was all wool. 'Of course,' says I, 'Jone'll have
his coat made different in front, for single-breasted, an' a buttonin'
so high up is a'most too stylish for him, 'specially as fashions 'ud
change afore the coat was wore out. But I needn't bother your earlship
"'An' so,' says he, an' I imagine I see an air of sadness steal over
his features, 'it's my clothes, after all, that interest you?'
"'Oh, no,' says I, 'I mention them because they come up fust. There is,
no doubt, qualities of mind and body--'
"'Well, we won't go into that,' said his earlship, 'an' I want to ask
you a question. I suppose you represent the middle class in your
"'I don't know 'zactly where society splits with us,' says I, 'but I
guess I'm somewhere nigh the crack.'
"'Now don't you really believe,' says he, 'that you and the people of
your class would be happier, an' feel safer, politically speakin', if
they had among 'em a aristocracy to which they could look up to in
times of trouble, as their nat'ral born gardeens? I ask yer this
because I want to know for myself what are the reel sentiments of yer
"'Well, sir,' says I, 'when your work is done, an' your kitchen cleaned
up, an' your lamp lit, a lord or a duke is jus' tip-top to read about,
if the type aint too fine an' the paper mean beside, which it often is
in the ten-cent books; but, further than this, I must say, we aint got
no use for 'em.' At that he kind o' steps back, and looks as if he was
goin' to say somethin', but I puts in quick: 'But you mustn't think, my
earl,' says I, 'that we undervallers you. When we remembers the field
of Agincourt; and Chevy Chase; an' the Tower of London, with the block
on which three lords was beheaded, with the very cuts in it which the
headsman made when he chopped 'em off, as well as two crooked ones
a-showin' his bad licks, which little did he think history would
preserve forever; an' the old Guildhall, where down in the ancient
crypt is a-hangin' our Declaration of Independence along with the Roman
pots and kittles dug up in London streets; we can't forgit that if it
hadn't 'a' been for your old ancestral lines as roots, we'd never been
the flourishin' tree we is.'
"'Well,' said his earlship, when I'd got through, an' he kind o' looked
as if he didn't know whether to laugh or not, 'if you represent the
feelin's of your class in your country, I reckon they're not just ready
for a aristocracy yit.'
"An' with that he give me a little nod, an' walked off into another
room. It was pretty plain from this that the interview was brought to a
close, an' so I come away. The flunk was all ready to show me out, an'
he did it so expeditious, though quite polite, that I didn't git no
chance to take a good look at the furniter and carpets, which I'd 'a'
liked to have done. An' so I've talked to a real earl, an' if not in
his ancestral pile, at any rate in the gorgeousest house I ever see.
An' the brilliantest dream of my youth has come true."
When she had finished I rose and looked upon her.
"Pomona," said I, "we may yet visit many foreign countries. We may see
kings, queens, dukes, counts, sheikhs, beys, sultans, khedives, pashas,
rajahs, and I don't know what potentates besides, and I wish to say
just this one thing to you. If you don't want to get yourself and us
into some dreadful scrape, and perhaps bring our journeys to a sudden
close, you must put a curb on your longing for communing with beings of
"That's true, sir," said Pomona, thoughtfully, "an' I made a pretty
close shave of it this time, for when I was talkin' to the earl, I was
just on the p'int of tellin' him that I had such a high opinion of his
kind o' folks that I once named a big black dog after one of 'em, but I
jus' remembered in time, an' slipped on to somethin' else. But I
trembled worse than a peanut woman with a hackman goin' round the
corner to ketch a train an' his hubs just grazin' the legs of her
stand. An' so I promise you, sir, that I'll put my heel on all
hankerin' after potentates."
And so she made her promise. And, knowing Pomona, I felt sure that she
would keep it--if she could.
In the pretty walk, bordered by bright flowers and low, overhanging
shrubbery, which lies back of the Albert Memorial, in Kensington
Gardens, London, Jonas sat on a green bench, with his baby on his knee.
A few nurses were pushing baby-carriages about in different parts of
the walk, and there were children playing not far away. It was drawing
toward the close of the afternoon, and Jonas was thinking it was nearly
time to go home, when Pomona came running to him from the gorgeous
monument, which she had been carefully inspecting.
"Jone," she cried, "do you know I've been lookin' at all them great men
that's standin' round the bottom of the monnyment, an' though there's
over a hundred of 'em, I'm sure, I can't find a American among 'em!
There's poets, an' artists, an' leadin' men, scraped up from all parts,
an' not one of our illustrious dead. What d'ye think of that?"
"I can't believe it," said Jonas. "If we go home with a tale like that
we'll hear the recruiting-drum from Newark to Texas, and, ten to one,
I'll be drafted."
"You needn't be makin' fun," said Pomona; "you come an' see for
yourself. Perhaps you kin' find jus' one American, an' then I'll go
"All right," said Jonas.
And, putting the child on the bench, he told her he'd be back in a
minute, and hurried after Pomona, to give a hasty look for the desired
Corinne, the offspring of Jonas and Pomona, had some peculiarities. One
of these was that she was accustomed to stay where she was put. Ever
since she had been old enough to be carried about, she had been carried
about by one parent or the other; and, as it was frequently necessary
to set her down, she had learned to sit and wait until she was taken up
again. She was now nearly two years old, very strong and active, and of
an intellect which had already begun to tower. She could walk very
well, but Jonas took such delight in carrying her that he seldom
appeared to recognize her ability to use her legs. She could also talk,
but how much her parents did not know. She was a taciturn child, and
preferred to keep her thoughts to herself, and, although she sometimes
astonished us all by imitating remarks she had heard, she frequently
declined to repeat the simplest words that had been taught her.
Corinne remained on the bench about a minute after her father had left
her, and then, contrary to her usual custom, she determined to leave
the place where she had been put. Turning over on her stomach, after
the manner of babies, she lowered her feet to the ground. Having
obtained a foothold, she turned herself about and proceeded, with
sturdy steps, to a baby-carriage near by which had attracted her
attention. This carriage, which was unattended, contained a baby,
somewhat smaller and younger than Corinne, who sat up and gazed with
youthful interest at the visitor who stood by the side of her vehicle.
Corinne examined, with a critical eye, the carriage and its occupant.
She looked at the soft pillow at the baby's back, and regarded with
admiration the afghan crocheted in gay colors which was spread over its
lap, and the spacious gig-top which shielded it from the sun. She
stooped down and looked at the wheels, and stood up and gazed at the
blue eyes and canary hair of the little occupant. Then, in quiet but
decided tones, Corinne said:--
The other baby looked at her, but made no movement to obey. After
waiting a few moments, an expression of stern severity spreading itself
the while over her countenance, Corinne reached over and put her arms
around the fair-haired child. Then, with all her weight and strength,
she threw herself backward and downward. The other baby, being light,
was thus drawn bodily out of its carriage, and Corinne sat heavily upon
the ground, her new acquaintance sprawling in her lap. Notwithstanding
that she bore the brunt of the fall upon the gravel, Corinne uttered no
cry; but, disengaging herself from her encumbrance, she rose to her
feet. The other baby imitated her, and Corinne, taking her by the hand,
led her to the bench where she herself had been left.
"Dit up!" said Corinne.
This, however, the other baby was unable to do; but she stood quite
still, evidently greatly interested in the proceedings. Corinne left
her and walked to the little carriage, into which she proceeded to
climb. After some extraordinary exertions, during which her fat legs
were frequently thrust through the spokes of the wheels and ruthlessly
drawn out again, she tumbled in. Arranging herself as comfortably as
she knew how, she drew the gay afghan over her, leaned back upon the
soft pillow, gazed up at the sheltering gig-top, and resigned herself
to luxurious bliss. At this supreme moment, the nurse who had had
charge of the carriage and its occupant came hurrying around a corner
of the path. She had been taking leave of some of her nurse-maid
friends, and had stayed longer than she had intended. It was necessary
for her to take a suitable leave of these ladies, for that night she
was going on a journey. She had been told to take the baby out for an
airing, and to bring it back early. Now, to her surprise, the afternoon
had nearly gone, and hurrying to the little carriage she seized the
handle at the back and rapidly pushed it home, without stopping to look
beneath the overhanging gig-top, or at the green bench, with which her
somewhat worried soul had no concern. If anything could add to
Corinne's ecstatic delight, it was this charming motion. Closing her
eyes contentedly, she dropped asleep.
The baby with canary hair looked at the receding nurse and carriage
with widening eyes and reddening cheeks. Then, opening her mouth, she
uttered the cry of the deserted; but the panic-stricken nurse did not
hear her, and, if she had, what were the cries of other children to
her? Her only business was to get home quickly with her young charge.
About five minutes after these events, Jonas and Pomona came hurrying
along the path. They, too, had stayed away much longer than they had
intended, and had suddenly given up their search for the American, whom
they had hoped to find in high relief upon the base of the Albert
Memorial. Stepping quickly to the child, who still stood sobbing by the
bench, Jonas exclaimed, "You poor itty--!"
And then he stopped suddenly. Pomona also stood for a second, and then
she made a dash at the child, and snatched it up. Gazing sharply at its
tear-smeared countenance, she exclaimed, "What's this?"
The baby did not seem able to explain what it was, and only answered by
a tearful sob. Jonas did not say a word; but, with the lithe quickness
of a dog after a rat, he began to search behind and under benches, in
the bushes, on the grass, here, there, and everywhere.
About nine o'clock that evening, Pomona came to us with tears in her
eyes, and the canary-haired baby in her arms, and told us that Corinne
was lost. They had searched everywhere; they had gone to the police;
telegrams had been sent to every station; they had done everything that
could be done, but had found no trace of the child.
"If I hadn't this," sobbed Pomona, holding out the child, "I believe
I'd go wild. It isn't that she can take the place of my dear baby, but
by a-keepin' hold of her I believe we'll git on the track of Corinne."
We were both much affected by this news, and Euphemia joined Pomona in
"Jonas is scourin' the town yet," said Pomona. "He'll never give up
till he drops. But I felt you ought to know, and I couldn't keep this
little thing in the night-air no longer. It's a sweet child, and its
clothes are lovely. If it's got a mother, she's bound to want to see it
before long; an' if ever I ketch sight of her, she don't git away from
me till I have my child."
"It is a very extraordinary case," I said. "Children are often stolen,
but it is seldom we hear of one being taken and another left in its
place, especially when the children are of different ages, and totally
"That's so," said Pomona. "At first, I thought that Corinne had been
changed off for a princess, or something like that, but nobody couldn't
make anybody believe that my big, black-haired baby was this
"Can't you find any mark on her clothes," asked Euphemia, "by which you
could discover her parentage? If there are no initials, perhaps you can
find a coronet or a coat of arms."
"No," said Pomona, "there aint nothin'. I've looked careful. But
there's great comfort to think that Corinne's well stamped."
"Stamped!" we exclaimed. "What do you mean by that?"
"Why, you see," answered Pomona, "when Jone an' I was goin' to bring
our baby over here among so many million people, we thought there might
be danger of its gittin' lost or mislaid, though we never really
believed any such thing would happen, or we wouldn't have come. An' so
we agreed to mark her, for I've often read about babies bein' stole an'
kept two or three years, and when found bein' so changed their own
mothers didn't know 'em. Jone said we'd better tattoo Corinne, for them
marks would always be there, but I wouldn't agree to have the little
creature's skin stuck with needles, not even after Jone said we might
give her chloryform; so we agreed to stamp initials on her with
Perkins's Indelible Dab. It is intended to mark sheep, but it don't
hurt, and it don't never come off. We put the letters on the back of
her heels, where they wouldn't show, for she's never to go barefoot,
an' where they'd be easy got at if we wanted to find 'em. We put R.G.
on one heel for the name of the place, and J.P. on the other heel for
Jonas an' me. If, twenty years from now," said Pomona, her tears
welling out afresh, "I should see a young woman with eyes like
Corinne's, an' that I felt was her, a-walking up to the bridal altar,
with all the white flowers, an' the floatin' veils, an' the crowds in
the church, an' the music playin', an' the minister all ready, I'd jist
jerk that young woman into the vestry-room, an' have off her shoes an'
stockin's in no time. An' if she had R.G. on one heel, an' J.P. on the
other, that bridegroom could go home alone."
We confidently assured Pomona that with such means of identification,
and the united action of ourselves and the police, the child would
surely be found, and we accompanied her to her lodgings, which were now
in a house not far from our own.
When the nurse reached home with the little carriage it was almost
dark, and, snatching up the child, she ran to the nursery without
meeting any one. The child felt heavy, but she was in such a hurry she
scarcely noticed that. She put it upon the bed, and then lighting the
gas she unwrapped the afghan, in which the little creature was now
almost entirely enveloped. When she saw the face, and the black hair,
from which the cap had fallen off, she was nearly frightened to death,
but, fortunately for herself, she did not scream. She was rather a
stupid woman, with but few ideas, but she could not fail to see that
some one had taken her charge, and put this child in its place. Her
first impulse was to run back to the gardens, but she felt certain that
her baby had been carried off; and, besides, she could not, without
discovery, leave the child here or take it with her; and while she
stood in dumb horror, her mistress sent for her. The lady was just
going out to dinner, and told the nurse that, as they were all to start
for the Continent by the tidal train, which left at ten o'clock that
night, she must be ready with the baby, well wrapped up for the
journey. The half-stupefied woman had no words nor courage with which
to declare, at this moment, the true state of the case. She said
nothing, and went back to the nursery and sat there in dumb
consternation, and without sense enough to make a plan of any kind. The
strange child soon awoke and began to cry, and then the nurse
mechanically fed it, and it went to sleep again. When the summons came
to her to prepare for the journey, in cowardly haste she wrapped the
baby, so carefully covering its head that she scarcely gave it a chance
to breathe; and she and the lady's waiting-maid were sent in a cab to
the Victoria Station. The lady was travelling with a party of friends,
and the nurse and the waiting-maid were placed in the adjoining
compartment of the railway-carriage. On the six hours' channel passage
from Newhaven to Dieppe the lady was extremely sick, and reached France
in such a condition that she had to be almost carried on shore. It had
been her intention to stop a few days at this fashionable
watering-place, but she declared that she must go straight on to Paris,
where she could be properly attended to, and, moreover, that she never
wanted to see the sea again. When she had been placed in the train for
Paris she sent for the nurse, and feebly asked how the baby was, and if
it had been seasick. On being told that it was all right, and had not
shown a sign of illness, she expressed her gratification, and lay back
among her rugs.
The nurse and the waiting-maid travelled together, as before, but the
latter, wearied by her night's attendance upon her mistress, slept all
the way from Dieppe to Paris. When they reached that city, they went
into the waiting-room until a carriage could be procured for them, and
there the nurse, placing the baby on a seat, asked her companion to
take care of it for a few minutes. She then went out of the station
door, and disappeared into Paris.
In this way, the brunt of the terrible disclosure, which came very
soon, was thrown upon the waiting-maid. No one, however, attached any
blame to her: of course, the absconding nurse had carried away the
fair-haired child. The waiting-maid had been separated from her during
the passage from the train to the station, and it was supposed that in
this way an exchange of babies had been easily made by her and her
confederates. When the mother knew of her loss, her grief was so
violent that for a time her life was in danger. All Paris was searched
by the police and her friends, but no traces could be found of the
wicked nurse and the fair-haired child. Money, which, of course, was
considered the object of the inhuman crime, was freely offered, but to
no avail. No one imagined for an instant that the exchange was made
before the party reached Paris. It seemed plain enough that the crime
was committed when the woman fled.
Corinne, who had been placed in the charge of a servant until it was
determined what to do with her, was not at all satisfied with the new
state of affairs, and loudly demanded her papa and mamma, behaving for
a time in a very turbulent way. In a few days, the lady recovered her
strength, and asked to see this child. The initials upon Corinne's
heels had been discovered, and, when she was told of these, the lady
examined them closely.
"The people who left this child," she exclaimed, "do not intend to lose
her! They know where she is, and they will keep a watch upon her, and
when they get a chance they will take her. I, too, will keep a watch
upon her, and when they come for her I shall see them."
Her use of words soon showed Corinne to be of English parentage, and it
was generally supposed that she had been stolen from some travellers,
and had been used at the station as a means of giving time to the nurse
to get away with the other child.
In accord with her resolution, the grief-stricken lady put Corinne in
the charge of a trusty woman, and, moreover, scarcely ever allowed her
to be out of her sight.
It was suggested that advertisement be made for the parents of a child
marked with E.G. and J.P. But to this the lady decidedly objected.
"If her parents find her," she said, "they will take her away; and I
want to keep her till the thieves come for her. I have lost my child,
and as this one is the only clue I shall ever have to her, I intend to
keep it. When I have found my child, it will be time enough to restore
Thus selfish is maternal love.
Pomona bore up better under the loss than did Jonas. Neither of them
gave up the search for a day; but Jonas, haggard and worn, wandered
aimlessly about the city, visiting every place into which he imagined a
child might have wandered, or might have been taken, searching even to
the crypt in the Guildhall and the Tower of London. Pomona's mind
worked quite as actively as her husband's body. She took great care of
"Little Kensington," as she called the strange child from the place
where she had been found; and therefore could not go about as Jonas
did. After days and nights of ceaseless supposition, she had come to
the conclusion that Corinne had been stolen by opera singers.
"I suppose you never knew it," she said to us, "for I took pains not to
let it disturb you, but that child has notes in her voice about two
stories higher than any operer prymer donner that I ever heard, an'
I've heard lots of 'em, for I used to go into the top gallery of the
operer as often as into the theayter; an' if any operer singer ever
heard them high notes of Corinne's,--an' there was times when she'd let
'em out without the least bit of a notice,--it's them that's took her."
"But, my poor Pomona," said Euphemia, "you don't suppose that little
child could be of any use to an opera singer; at least, not for years
"Oh, yes, ma'am," replied Pomona; "she was none too little. Sopranners
is like mocking-birds; they've got to be took young."
No arguments could shake Pomona's belief in this theory. And she daily
lamented the fact that there was no opera in London at that time that
she might go to the performances, and see if there was any one on the
stage who looked mean enough to steal a child.
"If she was there," said Pomona, "I'd know it. She'd feel the scorn of
a mother's eye on her, an' her guilty heart would make her forget her
Pomona frequently went into Kensington Gardens, and laid traps for
opera singers who might be sojourning in London. She would take Little
Kensington into the gardens, and, placing her carefully in the corner
of a bench, would retire to a short distance and pretend to be absorbed
in a book, while her sharp eyes kept up the watch for a long-haired
tenor, or a beautifully dressed soprano, who should suddenly rush out
from the bushes and seize the child.
"I wouldn't make no fuss if they was to come out," she said. "Little
Kensington would go under my arm, not theirn, an' I'd walk calmly with
'em to their home. Then I'd say: 'Give me my child, an' take yourn,
which, though she probably hasn't got no voice, is a lot too good for
you; and may the house hurl stools at you the next time you appear, is
the limit of a mother's curse.'"
But, alas for Pomona, no opera singers ever showed themselves.
These days of our stay in London were not pleasant. We went about
little, and enjoyed nothing. At last Pomona came to us, her face pale
"It's no use," she said, "for us to keep you here no longer, when I
know you've got through with the place, and want to go on, an' we'll
go, too, for I don't believe my child's in London. She's been took
away, an' we might as well look for her in one place as another. The
perlice tells us that if she's found here, they'll know it fust, an'
they'll telegraph to us wherever we is; an' if it wasn't fur nuthin'
else, it would be a mercy to git Jone out of this place. He goes about
like a cat after her drowned kittens. It's a-bringin' out them chills
of hisn, an' the next thing it'll kill him. I can't make him believe in
the findin' of Corinne as firm as I do, but I know as long as Perkins's
Indelible Dab holds out (an' there's no rubbin' nor washin' it off)
I'll git my child."
I admitted, but not with Pomona's hopefulness, that the child might be
found as easily in Paris as here.
"And we've seen everything about London," said Euphemia, "except
Windsor Castle. I did want, and still want, to see just how the Queen
keeps house, and perhaps get some ideas which might be useful; but Her
Majesty is away now, and, although they say that's the time to go
there, it is not the time for me. You'll not find me going about
inspecting domestic arrangements when the lady of the house is away."
So we packed up and went to Paris, taking Little Kensington along.
Notwithstanding our great sympathy with Corinne's parents, Euphemia and
myself could not help becoming somewhat resigned to the affliction
which had befallen them, and we found ourselves obliged to enjoy the
trip very much. Euphemia became greatly excited and exhilarated as we
entered Paris. For weeks I knew she had been pining for this city. As
she stepped from the train she seemed to breathe a new air, and her
eyes sparkled as she knew by the prattle and cries about her that she
was really in France.
We were obliged to wait some time in the station before we could claim
our baggage, and while we were standing there Euphemia drew my
attention to a placard on the wall. "Look at that!" she exclaimed.
"Even here, on our very entrance to the city, we see signs of that
politeness which is the very heart of the nation. I can't read the
whole of that notice from here, but those words in large letters show
that it refers to the observance of the ancient etiquettes. Think of
it! Here in a railroad station people are expected to behave to each
other with the old-time dignity and gallantry of our forefathers. I
tell you it thrills my very soul to think I am among such a people, and
I am glad they can't understand what I say, so that I may speak right
I never had the heart to throw cold water on Euphemia's noble emotions,
and so I did not tell her that the notice merely requested travellers
to remove from their trunks the _anciennes etiquettes_, or old railway
We were not rich tourists, and we all took lodgings in a small hotel to
which we had been recommended. It was in the Latin Quarter, near the
river, and opposite the vast palace of the Louvre, into whose
labyrinth of picture-galleries Euphemia and I were eager to plunge.
But first we all went to the office of the American Consul, and
consulted him in regard to the proper measures to be taken for
searching for the little Corinne in Paris. After that, for some days,
Jonas and Pomona spent all their time, and Euphemia and I part of ours,
in looking for the child. Euphemia's Parisian exhilaration continued to
increase, but there were some things that disappointed her.
"I thought," said she, "that people in France took their morning coffee
in bed, but they do not bring it up to us."
"But, my dear," said I, "I am sure you said before we came here that
you considered taking coffee in bed as an abominable habit, and that
nothing could ever make you like it."
"I know," said she, "that I have always thought it a lazy custom, and
not a bit nice, and I think so yet. But still, when we are in a strange
country, I expect to live as other people do."
It was quite evident that Euphemia had been looking forward for some
time to the novel experience of taking her coffee in bed. But the
gray-haired old gentleman who acted as our chambermaid never hinted
that he supposed we wanted anything of the kind.
Nothing, however, excited Euphemia's indignation so much as the
practice of giving a _pourboire_ to cabmen and others. "It is simply
feeding the flames of intemperance," she said. When she had occasion to
take a cab by herself, she never conformed to this reprehensible
custom. When she paid the driver, she would add something to the
regular fare, but as she gave it to him she would say in her most
distinct French: "_Pour manger. Comprenezvous_?" The _cocher_ would
generally nod his head, and thank her very kindly, which he had good
reason to do, for she never forgot that it took more money to buy food
In spite of the attractions of the city, our sojourn in Paris was not
satisfactory. Apart from the family trouble which oppressed us, it
rained nearly all the time. We were told that in order to see Paris at
its best we should come in the spring. In the month of May it was
charming. Then everybody would be out-of-doors, and we would see a
whole city enjoying life. As we wished to enjoy life without waiting
for the spring, we determined to move southward, and visit during the
winter those parts of Europe which then lay under blue skies and a warm
sun. It was impossible, at present, for Pomona and Jonas to enjoy life
anywhere, and they would remain in Paris, and then, if they did not
find their child in a reasonable time, they would join us. Neither of
them understood French, but this did not trouble them in the slightest.
Early in their Paris wanderings they had met with a boy who had once
lived in New York, and they had taken him into pay as an interpreter.
He charged them a franc and a half a day, and I am sure they got their
Soon after we had made up our minds to move toward the south, I came
home from a visit to the bankers, and joyfully told Euphemia that I had
"Baxter?" said she, inquiringly; "who is he?"
"I used to go to school with him," I said; "and to think that I should
meet him here!"
"I never heard you mention him before," she remarked.
"No," I answered; "it must be fifteen or sixteen years since I have
seen him, and really it is a great pleasure to meet him here. He is a
capital fellow. He was very glad to see me."
"I should think," said Euphemia, "if you like each other so much that
you would have exchanged visits in America, or, at least, have
"Oh, it is a very different thing at home," I said; "but here it is
delightful to meet an old school friend like Baxter. He is coming to
see us this evening."
That evening Baxter came. He was delighted to meet Euphemia, and
inquired with much solicitude about our plans and movements. He had
never heard of my marriage, and, for years, had not known whether I was
dead or alive. Now he took the keenest interest in me and mine. We were
a little sorry to find that this was not Baxter's first visit to
Europe. He had been here several times; and, as he expressed it, "had
knocked about a good deal over the Continent." He was dreadfully
familiar with everything, and talked about some places we were longing
to see in a way that considerably dampened our enthusiasm. In fact,
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