Quartering Upon Friends

City-bred people have a pious horror of the country in winter, and no

great regard for country visitors at any time, however much they may

"let on" to the contrary.

In rushing hot weather, when the bricks and mortar, the stagnated,

oven-like air of the crowded city threatens to bake, parboil, or give

the "citizens" the yellow fever, then we are very apt to think of plain

Aunt Polly, rough-hewed Uncle John
and the bullet-headed, uncombed,

smock-frocked cousins, nephews, and nieces, at their rural homes, amid

the fragrant meadows and umbrageous woods; the cool, silver streams and

murmuring brooks of the glorious country. Then, the poetic sunbeams and

moonshine of fancy bring to the eye and heart all or a part of the

glories and beauties, uses and purposes in which God has invested the


Now, our country friends are mostly desirous, candidly so, to have their

city friends come and see them--not merely pop visits, but bring your

whole family, and stay a month! This they may do, and will do, and can

afford it, as it is more convenient to one's pocket-book, on a farm, to

quarter a platoon of your friends than to perform the same operation

in the city, where it is apt to give your purse the tick-dollar-owe in

no time.

It was not long since, during the prevalence of a hot summer, that Mrs.

Triangle one morning said to her stewing husband, who was in no wise

troubled with a surplus of the circulating medium--

"Triangle, it's on-possible for us to keep the children well and quiet

through this dreadful hot weather. We must go into the country. The

Joneses and Pigwigginses and Macwackinses, and--and--everybody has gone

out into the country, and we must go, too; why can't we?"

"Why can't we?" mechanically echoed Triangle, who just then was deeply

absorbed in a problem as to whether or not, considering the prices of

coal, potatoes, house-rents, leather, and "dry goods," he would fetch up

in prison or the poor-house first! It was a momentous question, and to

his wife's proposal of a fresh detail of domestic expense, Triangle


"Why can't we?"

"Yes, that's what I'd like to know--why can't we?"

"We can't, Mrs. Triangle," decidedly answered her lord and master.

Now Mrs. T., being but a woman, very naturally went on to give Mr. T. a

Caudle lecture half an hour long, winding up with one of those

time-honored perquisites of the female sex--a good cry.

Poor Triangle put on his hat and marched down to his bake-oven of an

"office," to plan business and smoke his cigar. Triangle came home to

tea, and saw at a glance that something must be done. Mrs. Triangle was

to be "compromised," or far hotter than even the hot, hot weather would

be his domicile for the balance of the season. Triangle thought it over,

as he nibbled his toast and sipped his hot Souchong.

"My dear," said he, pushing aside his cup, and tilting himself upon the

"hind legs" of his chair--"business is very dull, the weather is

intolerable, I know you and the children would be much benefitted by a

trip into the country--why can't we go?"

"Why can't we?--that's what I'd like to know!" was the ready response of

Mrs. T.

"Well, we can go. My friend Jingo has as fine a place in the country as

ever was, anywhere; he has asked me again and again to come down in the

summer, and bring all the family. Now we'll go; Jingo will be delighted

to see us; and we'll have a good, pleasant time, I'll warrant."

Mrs. Triangle was delighted; soon all the clouds of her temper were

dispersed, and like people "cut out for each other," Triangle and his

wife sat and planned the details of the tour to Jingo Hill Farm.

Frederic Antonio Gustavus was to be rigged out in new boots, hat, and

breeches. Maria Evangeline Roxana Matilda was to be fitted out in Polka

boots, gipsey bonnet, and Bloomer pantalettes, with an entire invoice of

handkerchiefs, scarfs, ribbons, gloves, and hosiery for "mother," little

Georgiana Victorine Rosa Adelaide, and the baby, Henry Rinaldo

Mercutio. After three days' onslaught upon poor Triangle's pockets, with

any quantity of "fuss and feathers," Mrs. Triangle pronounced the

caravan ready to move. But just as all was ready, Bridget Durfy, the

maid-of-all-work, who was to accompany them on the expedition as

supervisor of the children, threw up her engagement.

"Plaze the pigs," said Biddy; "it's mesilf as niver likes the counthry,

at all; an' I'll jist be afther not goin', ma'm, wid yez!"

Here was a go--or rather a "no go!" Triangle had bought tickets for all,

and ordered the carriage at four; it was now three P. M., of a hot,

roasting day. It would be "on-possible," as Mrs. T. said, to go without

a girl; so poor, sweltering Triangle rushed down to the "Intelligence

Office," where, from the sweating mass of female humanity awaiting a

market for their time and labor, Triangle selected a stout, hearty Irish

blonde, warranted perfect, capable, kind, honest, and the Lord only

knows how many virtues the keeper of an "Intelligence Office" will not

swear belong to one of their stock in trade.

Away went Triangle, sweating and swearing; the Irish maiden, swinging a

bundle in one hand and a flaring bandanna in the other, following

after her patron with a duck-waddle; and finally the carriage came; all

got in but Triangle, who started on foot to the depot, carrying his

double-barrelled gun and leading an ugly dog, which he rejoiced in

believing was a full-blooded setter, though the best posted

dog-fanciers assured him it was a cross between a tan-yard cur and a

sheep-stealer! But, after a world of motion and commotion--on the part

of Triangle, about the dog, tickets and baggage, and Mrs. Triangle,

about the children, satchels, her new gown, and the sleepy Irish

girl--they found themselves whisked over the rails, and after some three

hours' carriage, they were dumped down in the vicinity of Jingo Hall,

where they found the "private conveyance" of the proprietor of Jingo

Hill Farm waiting to carry them, bandbox and bundle, rag-tag and

bobtail, to Jingo Hall.

The carriage being overfull, Triangle concluded to walk up, stretch his

legs, try his dog and gun, and have a pop at the game. But, alas, for

the villanous dog; no sooner had he got loose and scampered off up the

road, than he sees a flock of sheep some distance across the fields, and

away he pitched. The sheep ran, he after the sheep; and poor Triangle

after his dog.

"Hay! you Ponto--here--hay--Ponto-o-o! Hey, boy, come here, you dog--hi!

hi!--do you hear-r-r?"

But Ponto was off, and after a run of half a mile, he came up with a

lamb, and before Triangle could come to the rescue, Ponto had opened the

campaign by killing sheep! Triangle was so put out about it that in

wrath he up with his gun and was about to terminate the existence of the

dog, but compromised the matter by hitting him a whack across the back

with the barrels of his shooting-iron; in doing so, he broke off the

stock, clean as a whistle! It is useless to deny that Triangle was

mad; that he swore equal to an Erie Canal boatman; and that his fury so

alarmed the dog that he took to his heels and went--as Triangle

hoped--anywhere, head foremost.

down 'baby' upon the grass, and made fight with 'the spiteful

craturs.'"--Page 169.]

With a face as long as a boot-jack, quite tuckered out and disgusted

with things as far as he had got, Triangle reached Jingo Hall, where he

met the warm welcome of his friend, Major Jingo, and soon recuperated

his good humor and physical activity by the contents of the Major's

"well-stocked" wine-cellar. Ashamed of the facts of the case, Triangle

trumped up a cock-and-bull story about the dog and gun.

After a season, the Triangles got settled away, and the first day or two

passed without anything extraordinary turning up, if we may except the

upturning of several flower-pots and hen's nests by the children. But

the third day opened ominously. Triangle's dog was found with one of the

Major's dead lambs under convoy, and the Irish hostler had caught him,

tied him up in the stable, and given him such a dressing that Ponto's

soul-case was nearly beaten out of him!

The next item was a yowl in the garden! Everybody rushed out--Mrs.

Triangle in her excitement, lest something had happened to "baby," and

Nora, the girl, struck the centre-table, upset the "Astral," and not

only demolished that ancient piece of furniture, but spilled enough

thick oil over the gilt-edged literature, table-cloth, and carpet, to

make a barrel of soft soap.

The Irish girl came bounding, screeching forth! She had been sauntering

through the garden, and ran against the bee-hives, when a bee up and at

her. With a presence of mind truly unparalleled, she laid down "baby"

upon the grass, and made fight with "the spiteful craturs;" and of

course she got her hands full, was beset by tens and hundreds, and was

stung in as many places by the pugnacious "divils." Nora was done for.

She went to bed; "baby" was found all right, laughing "fit to break its

yitty hearty party, at naughty Nora Dory," as Mrs. Triangle very

naturally expressed it.

These two tableaux had hardly reached their climax, when in rushed

Frederic Antonio Gustavus, with his capacious apron full of "birds he

killed in the yard, down by the barns." Poor Jingo! and we may add, poor

Mrs. Jingo! for a favorite brood of the finest fowls in the country had

been exterminated by the chivalrous young Triangle, and in the bloom of

his heroic act he dropped the dead game at the feet of his

horror-stricken mother, and astonished father, and the Jingos.

That night the effect of stuffing with green fruit to utter suffocation

manifested itself in a general and alarming cholera-morbus among the

junior Triangles, and the whole house was up in arms.

In the midst of this, a fresh clamor broke out in Nora's chamber. A huge

bat had got into her room, and so alarmed her, that she yelled worse,

louder, and longer than seven evil ones.

It was a night of horror to the whole family--to everybody in and about

Jingo Hall. The dogs set up a howl; the children bawled, cried, and took

on; the Irish girl screeched; gin and laudanum, peppermint and

"lollypops," the de'il to pay and no pitch hot.

Triangle felt relieved when daylight came, and had it not been Sunday,

he would have packed up and put back for the prosy office and stagnated

quietude of the city. But it was Sunday, and after the children, Irish

girl, and dogs had been partially quieted, down the carriage came to the

door, and as many as could get into it of the Jingos and Triangles,

rolled off to meeting.

Triangle and Jingo went to escape the din and noise of dressing "the

babies," &c.; and after the service was over, poor Triangle was taken

aside by a tall, bony man, who reported himself in no very ceremonious

manner as the proprietor of a flock of sheep scared to death, and one

rare lamb killed--"by your dog!" Triangle owned to the soft impeachment,

and "compromised" for a V.

Returned to Jingo Hall, another coup d'etat all around the lot had

broken out. Evangeline Roxana Matilda Triangle had disappeared. The

baby, Georgiana Victorine Rosa Adelaide, had fallen from a swing in the

grove and dislocated her wrist, and flattened her pretty nose quite to

her pretty face. Baby was very ill, and from the groans issuing from

Nora's attic, it was not on-possible that she was sick as she could

be. A general search took place for Evangeline Roxana Matilda, while

Maj. Jingo mounted a horse and rode over to the village, to bring down a

doctor for Georgiana Victorine Rosa Adelaide, "the baby," and--Nora


A glance at the Irish girl convinced poor tried Triangle that she was

a case--of small-pox.

Maj. Jingo returned, but without a medical adviser; the village

Esculapius having gone off to the city. Things looked gloomy enough.

Triangle felt "chawed up," and wished he had been roasted alive in the

city before venturing upon such a trip. But he felt he had a duty to

perform, and he determined to put it through.

"Major, I'm very sorry, but the fact is"----

"Never mind, never mind, my dear fellow--no trouble to us."

"But," chokingly continued poor Triangle, "but, Major, the fact is,

I--a--you've got a large family"----

"Never mind, my dear boy; don't say any more about it."

"But to have the--a--the--small-pox"----

"What?" gasped the Major--"the--a"----

"Small-pox!" seriously enough responded Triangle.

"Small-pox! Who? Where?"

"Our Irish girl--up stairs--awful!"

"O, good Lord! Irish--up stairs--small-pox!" reiterated the really

alarmed proprietor of Jingo Hall.

"I wouldn't have"--said Triangle.

"The small-pox in my house"--echoed Jingo.

"For all the blessed countries in the world!" passionately exclaimed


"Heavens!" exclaimed the Major; "my wife has a greater dread of

small-pox than yellow fever, or death itself!"

"What's to be done?" said poor Triangle.

"Remove the girl to an out-house, instantly!" said the Major, pacing up

and down, in great furore.

"That's best, Major; go move her, at once."

"Me? Me move her, sir?" said Jingo.

"Why who will, Major?" responded Triangle.

"Who? Why, you, of course."

"Me?" exclaimed Triangle--"me? endanger my life, and the lives of all my

family--me? No, sir, I'll--I'll--I'll be hanged if I do!"

"Blur a' nouns, zur!" bawled the Irish hostler, as he came trotting up

to the front veranda, where Triangle and Jingo were discussing the

transportation of small-pox--

"Blur a' nouns--the dog's loose!"

"Curse the dog!" said the Major.

"But, zur, it's raving mad, he is!"

"Mad! my dog?" cries Triangle.

"A mad dog, too!" exclaims the Major, in horror.

"O, too bad--horrible--wish I'd never seen"----

"Get your gun, quick--come on!" cried the Major.

"But, my dear Major, my gun's broke all to smash. O! that I had shot the

blasted brute instead of breaking my gun!"

"Come on--never mind--seize a club, fork, or anything, and hunt around

for the cursed dog. He'll bite some of our people, horses, or cattle."

And away ran the Major, with a bit of stick about the size of a

fence-rail. Paddy made himself scarce, and Triangle, in agony, flew

around to hunt up his daughter, whom they found asleep in a


Mrs. Major Jingo, when she heard that the Irish girl had introduced the

small-pox on Jingo Hill, liked to have fainted away; but, conquering her

weakness, she ordered the carriage, and bundled herself and four

children into it, so full of terror and alarm that she never so much as

said--"Take care of yourself, Mrs. Triangle!" Maj. Jingo returned, after

a fruitless search for Triangle's mad dog, and just as he entered the

hall, the Irish girl came rushing down stairs, crying--

"O! murther, murther! I'm dead as a door-nail, entirely, wid dese pains

in my face. Be gorra! O, murther!"

One look at the swollen and truly frightful face of the girl put the

Major to his taps; and stopping but a moment to tell Triangle to make

out the best he could, he left.

Next morning, bag and baggage, the Triangles vamosed. The poor girl

having recovered from her attack of the bees, which had led to the alarm

of small-pox, looked quite respectable. Never did a party enjoy home

more completely than the Triangles after that. Triangle has a holy

horror of trips to the country, and the Jingos are down on visitors from

the city.