Making A club.
There was a clattering of feet on the stairs leading to the chamber of Aunt Stanshy’s barn. First there popped up one head and a pair of curious eyes. Then there popped up a second head and two more eyes. Then there popped up a third head and two more eyes.
“Jolly! Don’t she beat all?”
It was Sid Waters who said this.
“It’s de best barn in de lane,” said Juggie Jones, a little colored boy, his dark eyes lighting up with true interest.
“Well, I think it is a pretty good barn,” rejoined Charlie Macomber, with apparent unconcern. At the same time a secret pride was dwelling in his bosom, that suddenly made his jacket too tight for him. If Seamont, in which the barn was located, was one of the best of towns in the opinion of its inhabitants, this particular barn, in Charlie’s estimate, was one of the best structures of that sort in the place. Below, on the first floor, there was a chance of a stall for Brindle, now grazing in a little pasture adjoining the garden. There was, also, a stall for a horse, and an extra stall, though empty, always gives dignity to a barn, suggesting what has been, and, while speaking of a glory departed, hints of that which may be another day.
But the chamber! What palace of gold ever had a room equal to that chamber? It had a row of barrels, behind which or in which you could safely hide. It had a ladder that would let you smartly bump your head against the highest rafter in the roof, a cross-beam, too, from which you could suspend a swing, and a window in the rear from which you could look upon the Missigatchee River (supposed to have been christened by the Indians). This river-view you could have had, if the window had not been boarded up, but there was a front window, whose big square shutter was generally open. This gave a boy a view of the lane and, if maliciously disposed, a chance to safely let drive an apple or a snow-ball at any “down-townie” that might rashly invade the neighborhood. There was also a window high up, at one end, well latticed with cobwebs. Then there was a closet, which was splendid for “Hy-spy,” and—notice!—honor upon honor—there was a “cupelo,” as Charlie called it, on top of the barn. Through the slats of the “cupelo,” one could look upon the river shining gloriously at sunset, as if the sun were a Chinese mandarin that at this hour spread his yellow silk robe upon the river in a vain attempt to warm up the cold waters just from the sea. Besides this there were various attractions, such as oars in the corner, nets hanging from nails, and let it not be forgotten that a big strip of dried halibut dangled from a spike in the wall. To a hungry boy what is there better than such a halibut, unless it be two halibuts? Already there had been sly, toothsome pickings of this.
It is no wonder, then, that the soul of Sid Waters, to say nothing of his stomach in view of the halibut, was powerfully affected, and again he cried out, “Jolly!” Then he clapped his hands, shouting, “Just the place for a club!”