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“Do," I murmured, sinking on the sofa. "Don't come back '

· without one.”

In fifteen minutes, Aristarchus returned with the doctor. I told him at once that I had no need of his services for myself, but for my poor husband. At this, Aristarchus dropped into a chair like a hot potato, but I went on and told the doctor about his ravings and my fears, and his final attempt to choke me to death.

"Good heavens! Cordelia,” Aristarchus gasped out, “why didn't you tell me you were afraid, instead of getting a doctor here and publishing it? Doctor, the whole explanation is this: I have a chronic throat-trouble. An elocutionist says he can cure me; I go twice a week for lessons, and, of course, practice much of the time when in my study. His treatment includes some simple gymnastic exercises, of which one is to knead the throat. I didn't tell Cordelia about it, because—well, I was afraid she would think-in short, I was afraid she might not have much faith in it.”

That miserable doctor burst out laughing and laughed until he shook in his chair, and Aristarchus joined in. He went away, promising to regard the affair as a professional secret.

This was only the beginning. Elocution ceased to confine itself to the study, but spread all over the house, the children, thinking it the best of fun, joined in. But it was no fun for

If I asked Aristarchus what he would like for dinner, he would most likely answer:

Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats,

Grave old plodders, gay young friskers.'
“Oh, Aristarchus!” I would say, “ do be serious."

, And he would answer: “Certainly my love!

'Give me three grains of corn, mother,

Only three grains of corn,
'Twill keep the little life I have

Till the coming of the morn.'” Perhaps you think Aristarchus had his favorite dinner after that!


Miranda Dorothea would be out at play for a long time, and when she reappeared I would ask her where she had been, and she would recite in her shrill treble :

“ 'I come from haunts of coot and hern,

I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,

To bicker down a valley.' ”

Or I ask Leander to do an errand for me, and he answers:

“'Must I budge? Must I observe you? Must I stand and

crouch under your testy humor?'

And he used to be such a good, respectful boy! I say:

Leander, you should not answer your mother so; remember who you are. In slow sepulchral tones that make my flesh creep he replies:

“I am thy father's spirit,
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
And, for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature,
Are burnt and purged away.”

In short, I could scarcely address any member of my family without having ancient poets and modern poets, dead-and-gone philosophers and living aspirants for immortality, hurled at

my head.

One day Aristarchus was raking off the lawn in front of the house, and I noticed that he had hung his coat on the fence. I was busy and did not see him when he came in, but I heard him at the study window calling “Stop thief! stop thief!” and I stepped to the front door and, looking out, saw that his coat was no longer on the fence, but a man with a coat on his arm was running down the street in the direction of the railroad station.

The wretch has stolen Aristarchus's coat and means to take the next train and leave town, I thought. I rushed out and ran down the street after him as fast as I could go. As I ran, I saw faces appear at the windows of houses, and small boys


sprang up by the roadside, as if by magic; and I heard, as if in a dream, one of them call out:

“Go it, Old Fatty! Another yelled, "You're all right, ma'am; it's leap-year!

Not being a thin woman, I should have failed to overtake the thief, however, in spite of such encouragement, had not the train which he expected to take whizzed out of the station, and he slackened his run to a walk. As I came up behind him, I snatched the coat quickly from his arm, saying as I did so:

"I'll take this coat, and you may think yourself lucky to escape arrest and punishment.”

The man turned, lifted his hat and said courteously: “ If my summer overcoat will be of any use to you, madam, it is quite at your service."

It was Judge Leland, the richest and most influential man in town.

My face was all ablaze as I gave back the coat and stammered forth:

“I beg your pardon. My husband left his coat on the fence. I heard him calling 'stop thief,' while you were running down the street with the coat on your arm, and I thought—I

I could not tell him I took him for a thief, but he helped me out.

So you thought I had taken your husband's coat. Ha-ha! Very natural mistake, very. Your husband is something of an elocutionist, I believe?"

Nothing could have been more courteous and civil than were the Judge's words and manner; yet, I felt as if I had been asked if my husband was an ex-convict.

One day Aristarchus had occasion to go down into the basement, and as he went was loudly declaiming:

“Come out, you old speckled hypocrite, from that deep, dark den, overhung with alders. Nay, I have thee fast. Plunge not, wriggle not, jump not. It is all in vain. There—now I

, stretch thee on the stones!”

Meanwhile, I noticed a couple of laboring men standing at our gate, evidently listening, and I ran to the cellar-door to beg Aristarchus not to rave so loudly, but just as I reached the door his voice ceased, a loud noise, as of a falling body, succeeded, followed by an ominous silence.

“What is the trouble, Aristarchus? ” I cried, in a fright,

“Mur-r-der, most foul and unnatural mur-r-der," replied my husband, in tones of deepest tragedy.

“Oh, dear! Why will you carry on so?" I exclaimed, impatiently.

“I assure you, I was not at all to blame,” he replied, apologetically. “It was a mouse, he ran directly under my boot; my boot is heavy, the mouse was small, therefore the mouse is dead and my boot is entirely unharmed."

There was no use in expostulating with him, and I went back to my sewing. Presently, I was startled by a loud and violent ringing of the bell. Going to the door, I was confronted by a policeman and the two laboring men whom I had seen at our gate. The three were puffing like so many locomotives, having evidently been running:

“We must come in, madam," announced the policeman, “and investigate the murder that has just been committed here.”

“There has been none,” said I, stiffly.

But at that moment, the voice of Aristarchus behind me said solemnly:

“Do not attempt to deny it, Cordelia. Walk this way, gentlemen, and view the body."

I fell into a chair, nearly convulsed with laughter at this unlooked-for turn of events, and, burying my face in my handkerchief, exclaimed in smothered tones:

“Oh! you will kill me, Aristarchus !

"Don't be frightened, madam, he shall not harm you," said the policeman, reassuringly, while he grasped his billy firmly and, holding it alarmingly near Aristarchus's head, followed to the cellar.

“Behold the remains !” said Aristarchus, solemnly.

“Where? There's nobody here,” said the policeman. “Here he is,” said Aristarchus, touching with a stick the small, furry body of the dead mouse that lay on the floor, “and this is the weapon that did the bloody deed,” he added, turning up to view the sole of his right boot.

“Good land! what a confounded sell!” exclaimed the deluded policeman.

Leander picked the mouse up gently by the tip of its tail and held it up before the three men for their closer inspection, sayTake it up tenderly,

Lift it with care,
Fashioned so slenderly,

Young and so fair.is

And Aristarchus added :

“'Nothing in his life

Became him like leaving it; he died
As one that had been studied in his death.
To throw away the dearest thing he owed
As 'twere a careless trifle,'


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and you would agree with me, gentlemen, if you had seen how recklessly he ran under my boot."

“Are you a couple of lunatics?” exclaimed the policeman, looking wrathfully at father and son.

"You might ask my wife about that,” suggested Aristarchus, serenely.

Three disgusted-looking men left our premises. I did hope that the occurrence would be a lesson to Aristarchus, but if it was, he failed to profit by it; for not long afterward, as we were retiring, one hot, sultry night, he burst out in the midst of The Battle of Bunker Hill."

ow, men! now is your time,' says the veteran Prescott, make ready! take aim, fire!'”

“Don't shout so, Aristarchus,” I pleaded, “you will rouse the neighbors."

But Leander had heard his father and took up the refrain, yelling out “Fire! fire! fire!” as only a boy can yell

. I rushed across the hall to Leander's room and sternly ordered him to be quiet and not to let me hear another word from him. But by this time Miranda Dorothea had chimed in, “ Fire! fire!" with her shrill treble, and I flew to silence her. I had barely got my troublesome family quieted, the lights out, and all in bed, when we heard a great commotion outside.

Something unusual is going on," I remarked. " It's the deluge!” ejaculated Aristarchus, springing wildly out of bed and shaking himself like a dog just come out of the river. I followed without needless delay. A window near the head of our bed was open, and through it was pouring a


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