I explained that the desperado put up a stiff fight against Diggs and myself and, warming up to the subject, I went into the details of a hand to hand struggle that made them all shiver and blink their lanterns.
When finally I finished with the statement that the robber knocked us both down and had made a successful break for liberty. Uncle Peter gave expression to a yell of dismay, and once again he and his bow and arrow held a reunion.
Tacks suggested that we burn the house down so the burglar wouldn’t be able to find it if he came around after dark. I thought extremely well of the suggestion, but didn’t dare say so.
Aunt Martha had just about decided to untie a fit of hysterics, when Clara J. reached for the kerosene bucket and threw oil on the troubled waters.
“Let’s drop all this nonsense about burglars and ghosts and go to breakfast,” she suggested. “I don’t believe there ever was a ghost within sixty miles of this house, and to save my soul I couldn’t be afraid of a burglar whose specialty consisted of falling in the cellar and swearing till help came!”
After breakfast I was dragged away to the brook to fish for lamb chops or whatever kind of an animal it was that Uncle Peter and Tacks decided would bite. Aunt Martha posted off to the city on urgent business, the nature of which she carefully concealed from everybody.
Clara J. said she’d be delighted to have the house all to herself for an hour or two, there were so many rooms to look through and so many plans to make.
Uncle Peter gave her his bow and arrow with full instructions how to shoot if danger threatened, and Tacks carefully rubbed the steps leading up to the piazza with soap so the burglar would fall and break his neck. Then the little shrimp called my attention to his handiwork and demonstrated its availability by slipping thereon himself and going the whole distance on his face. He didn’t break his neck, however, so to my mind his burglar alarm failed to make good.
As time wore on I felt more and more like a mock turtle being led to the soup house.
The fact that Bunch was sore worried me, and I began to realize that it was now only a question of a few hours when I’d have to crawl up to Clara J. and hand in my resignation.
Every time I drew a picture of that scene and heard myself telling her I was nothing but a fawn-colored four-flush I could see my future putting on the mitts and getting ready to hand me one.
And when I thought of the dish of fairy tales I had cooked for that girl I could feel something running around in my head and trying to hide. I suppose it was my conscience.
At the brook, Uncle Peter began to throw out hints that he was the original lone fisherman. The lobster never lived that could back away from him, and as for fly-casting, well, he was Piscatorial Peter, the Fancy Fish Charmer from Fishkill.