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

unnatural, excitement.

"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 down

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