Then, “Reverse yourselves,” she said, indicating by a wave of her hand, that they were to give place at the table to the rest of the company.
When all had had an opportunity to examine the specimens of the lad’s skill, the young girl was ordered to restore them to the box, but first to count them.
That last clause brought an amused smile to nearly every face in the audience, but Lulu frowned, and muttered, “Just as if she thought we would steal them!”
Next, Mrs. Mack began the circuit of the room, carrying a long slender stick with which she pointed out those which she considered the most interesting of her specimens or articles of virtu.
One of these last was a very large, very old-fashioned back-comb, having a story with a moral attached, the latter recited in doggerel rhyme.
She had other stories, in connection with other articles, to tell in the same way. In fact, so many and so long were they, that the listeners grew weary and inattentive ere the exhibition was brought to a close.
The afternoon was waning when they left the house. As Captain Raymond and his family drove into the heart of the town on their way home, their attention was attracted by the loud ringing of a hand-bell, followed now and again by noisy vociferation, in a discordant, man’s voice.
“So the evening boat is in,” remarked the captain.
“How do you know, papa?” asked Grace.
“By hearing the town-crier calling his papers; which could not have come in any other way.”
“What does he say, papa?” queried Lulu. “I have listened as intently as possible many a time, but I never can make out more than a word or two, sometimes not that.”
“No more can I,” he answered, with a smile; “it sounds to me like ’The first news is um mum, and the second news is mum um mum, and the third news is um um mum.”
The children all laughed.
“Yonder he is, coming this way,” said Max, leaning from the carriage window.
“Beckon to him,” said the captain; “I want a paper.”
Max obeyed; the carriage stopped, the crier drew near and handed up the paper asked for.
“How much?” inquired the captain.
“Five cents, sir.”
“Why, how is that? You asked me but three for yesterday’s edition of this same paper.”
“More news in this one.”
“Ah, you charge according to the amount of news, do you?” returned the captain, laughing, and handing him a nickel.
“Yes, sir; I guess that’s about the fair way,” said the crier, hastily regaining the sidewalk to renew the clang, clang of his bell and the “um mum mum” of his announcement.
“Wave high your torches on each crag and cliff.
Let many lights blaze on our battlements;
Shout to them in the pauses of the storm,
And tell them there is hope.”