“Very muchly,” said Roly; “he’s worse than algebra.”
“He’s worse than algebra and civil government put together,” said Pee-wee.
“Did you say civil?” said Roly Poly; “don’t mention civil in the same sentence with him; he’s the man that put the crab in crab-apple.”
“He’s got a dandy orchard, though,” said Pee-wee.
“Sure, this is a part of it,” said Roly Poly.
THE LOOKOUT SEES A SAIL
“Good night,” said Pee-wee; “I don’t blame it for going away from him. Can he take it back? It’s an island now and it’s part of Bridgeboro. He can’t take it on account of international law; that’s what I think. How did it happen?”
“It’s a very short story,” said his new friend; “it’s only about a mile and a half long—from North Bridgeboro down to here. We were camping in Wallace’s grove and a little way down the river we saw a kind of a little spot of land with a tree on it. There were lots of apple trees all around there near the shore. We didn’t know that orchard belonged to old Trimmer.”
“He thinks he owns the whole river,” said Pee-wee.
“That little spot of land stuck out sort of like a balcony on account of it being near the bend of the river; the river coming around the bend sort of scooped a place out underneath it; it was all under-mined——”
“I know what happened! I know what happened!” Pee-wee shouted. “I know the place, it was nice and shady underneath it and you could go under it in a canoe; lots of times I did.”
“Well, you never will any more,” said Roly Poly.
“Go on, tell me! Go on, tell me!” Pee-wee encouraged excitedly.
“There was a pole sticking out of the water right near there,” Pee-wee’s new friend continued, “and we thought it meant there was good fishing there. So I said I’d go and see if I could catch a couple of eels and sunfish or something. While I was out at the edge of that little knob of land or whatever you want to call it, all of a sudden I could feel something giving way under me and the first thing I knew the whole business was in the water.
“Oh, you should have heard those fellows laugh as I went sailing down the river. That was about ten o’clock this morning and the tide was running down strong. This little old island flopped around and went every which way but it stayed right side up anyway and do you think I’d desert the ship? By the time we flopped downstream this far the tide was so low that our little old roots dragged the bottom and we stopped for keeps. So here we are till the tide comes in anyway. I don’t know whether we’ll float in deep water or not, or whether we’ll capsize in deep water or not and I don’t know anything about international law, but a life on the ocean wave for me.”
“I know all about international law,” Pee-wee shouted. “Real estate is in a certain place, isn’t it? If a man owns real estate it’s bounded by something, isn’t it? Well, then, if it isn’t bounded by those things any more how can it belong to that same man? If a man owns land in a certain place and it stops being in that place, whose is it?”