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 themnot 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, andandeverybody 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 responded
Why can't we?
Yes, that's what I'd like to knowwhy can't we?
We can't, Mrs. Triangle, decidedly answered her lord and
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 sexa 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 chairbusiness is very dull, the weather is
intolerable, I know you and the children would be much benefitted by a
trip into the countrywhy 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
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 goor 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 commotionon
the part of Triangle, about the dog, tickets and baggage, and Mrs.
Triangle, about the children, satchels, her new gown, and the sleepy
Irish girlthey 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 PontoherehayPonto-o-o! Hey, boy, come here, you
doghi! 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 wentas Triangle
hopedanywhere, head foremost.
[Illustration: With a presence of mind truly unparalleled, she laid
down 'baby' upon the grass, and made fight with 'the spiteful
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 outMrs.
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 familyto 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 killedby 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,
A glance at the Irish girl convinced poor tried Triangle that
she was a caseof 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 fellowno trouble to us.
But, chokingly continued poor Triangle, but, Major, the fact is,
Iayou've got a large family
Never mind, my dear boy; don't say any more about it.
But to have theathesmall-pox
What? gasped the Majorthea
Small-pox! seriously enough responded Triangle.
Small-pox! Who? Where?
Our Irish girlup stairsawful!
O, good Lord! Irishup stairssmall-pox! reiterated the really
alarmed proprietor of Jingo Hall.
I wouldn't havesaid Triangle.
The small-pox in my houseechoed 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 Triangleme? endanger my life, and the lives of
all my familyme? No, sir, I'llI'llI'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' nounsthe 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 badhorriblewish I'd never seen
Get your gun, quickcome 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 onnever mindseize 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 saidTake 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.