Edgewood or Pleasant River, being something quite as impossible
to spell as to pronounce. As the family had lived for the last
few years somewhere near the Killick Cranberry Meadows, they were
called--and completely described in the calling--the Crambry
fool-family. A talented and much traveled gentleman who once
stayed over night at the Edgewood tavern, proclaimed it his
opinion that Boomsher had been gradually corrupted from
Beaumarchais. When he wrote the word on his visiting card and
showed it to Mr. Wiley, Old Kennebec had replied, that in the
judgment of a man who had lived in large places and seen a
turrible lot o' life, such a name could never have been given
either to a Christian or a heathen family,--that the way in
which the letters was thrown together into it, and the way in
which they was sounded when read out loud, was entirely ag'in
reason. It was true, he said, that Beaumarchais, bein' such a
fool name, might 'a' be'n invented a-purpose for a fool family,
but he wouldn't hold even with callin' 'em Boomsher; Crambry was
well enough for'em an' a sight easier to speak.
Stephen knew a good deal about the Crambrys, for he passed their
so-called habitation in going to one of his wood-lots. It was
only a month before that he had found them all sitting outside
their broken-down fence, surrounded by decrepit chairs, sofas,
tables, bedsteads, bits of carpet, and stoves.
"What's the matter?" he called out from his wagon.
"There ain't nothin' the matter," said Alcestis Crambry.
"Father's dead, an we're dividin' up the furnerchure."
Alcestis was the pride of the Crambrys, and the list of his
attainments used often to be on his proud father's lips. It was
he who was the largest, "for his size," in the family; he who
could tell his brothers Paul and Arcadus "by their looks;" he who
knew a sour apple from a sweet one the minute he bit it; he who,
at the early age of ten, was bright enough to point to the
cupboard and say, "Puddin', dad!"
Alcestis had enjoyed, in consequence of his unusual intellectual
powers, some educational privileges, and the Killick
schoolmistress well remembered his first day at the village seat
of learning. Reports of what took place in this classic temple
from day to day may have been wafted to the dull ears of the boy,
who was not thought ready for school until he had attained the
ripe age of twelve. It may even have been that specific rumors
of the signs, symbols, and hieroglyphics used in educational
institutions had reached him in the obscurity of his cranberry
meadows. At all events, when confronted by the alphabet chart,
whose huge black capitals were intended to capture the wandering
eyes of the infant class, Alcestis exhibited unusual, almost
"That is 'A,' my boy," said the teacher genially, as she pointed
to the first character on the chart.
"Good God, is that 'A'! " exclaimed Alcestis, sitting downDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>