“Uncle Peter, it must be John Henry’s Aunt Eliza and cousin Julia. He expects them, don’t you, John?” Clara J. explained. “We shall be ready to welcome them in just a little while;” here she glanced cautiously at the chair. “In the meantime you show them into the spare room and say that John will see them very soon.”
The old gentleman eyed me suspiciously and retired without a word.
I’m afraid Uncle Peter found it hard to take.
With the kind assistance of the carving knife Clara J. removed all of me from the chair, with the exception of a few feet of trousers, and I made a quick change of costume.
A few minutes later I joined her in the parlor, where the scene was set for my finish. I picked out a quiet spot near the piano to die.
Uncle Peter was enjoying every minute of it.
He hurried off to escort the visitors to the parlor and a moment later Aunt Martha bustled in.
“Are they here?” she asked breathlessly.
“How did you know they were coming?” inquired Clara J. in surprised tones.
“How did I know!” exclaimed Auntie; “why I sent them!”
Every hand was against me. The parachute had failed to work and I was dropping on the rocks.
Faintly and far away I could hear the ambulance coming at a gallop.
Sweet spirits of ammonia, but I was up against it!
It was plainly evident to me that Aunt Martha knew the awful relatives of Bunch, and that the old lady was camping on my trial. Yes; there she stood, old Aunt Nemesis, glaring at me from behind her spectacles.
I decided to die without going over near the piano.
“Where are they?” I could hear Aunt Martha asking in the same tone of voice I was certain the Roman Emperor used when just about to frame up a finale for a few Christians from over the Tiber.
“Uncle Peter has gone for them; we put them in the spare room,” answered Clara J.
“What! in the spare room!” gasped Aunt Martha, collapsing in a chair just as Uncle Peter appeared in the doorway, bowing low before the visitors, who stalked clumsily into the parlor.
For some reason or other Clara J. omitted the formality of springing forward and greeting my relatives effusively, so she simply said, “You are very welcome, Aunt Eliza and cousin Julia!”
“Great heavens! what does this mean?” shrieked Aunt Martha. “It cannot be possible that these two women are relatives of yours, John! Why, I engaged them both in an intelligence office; one for the kitchen, the other as parlor maid!”
“Sure not,” I chirped, in joy-freighted accents, as I grasped the glorious situation. “They aren’t my relatives and never were. The more I look at them the more convinced I am that there’s no room for them to perch on my family tree. I disown them both. Back to the woods with the Swede imposters!”
I win by an eyelash.