“Humph!” says Peter. “I wish you knew his address. I’d like to hire him to write the Old Home ads. I thought my invention was A 1, but I’m in the kindergarten. Well, let’s go to bed before somebody tries to win the prize from Sparrow.”
’Twas after eleven by then, so, as his advice looked good, we follered it.
We’ve all got a crazy streak in us somewheres, I cal’late, only the streaks don’t all break out in the same place, which is a mercy, when you come to think of it. One feller starts tooting a fish horn and making announcements that he’s the Angel Gabriel. Another poor sufferer shows his first symptom by having his wife’s relations come and live with him. One ends in the asylum and t’other in the poorhouse; that’s the main difference in them cases. Jim Jones fiddles with perpetual motion and Sam Smith develops a sure plan for busting Wall Street and getting rich sudden. I take summer boarders maybe, and you collect postage stamps. Oh, we’re all looney, more or less, every one of us.
Speaking of collecting reminds me of the “Antiquers”—that’s what Peter T. Brown called ’em. They put up at the Old Home House— summer before last; and at a crank show they’d have tied for the blue ribbon. There was the Dowager and the Duchess and “My Daughter” and “Irene dear.” Likewise there was Thompson and Small, but they, being nothing but husbands and fathers, didn’t count for much first along, except when board was due or “antiques” had to be settled for.
The Dowager fetched port first. She hove alongside the Old Home one morning early in July, and she had “My Daughter” in tow. The names, as entered on the shipping list, was Mrs. Milo Patrick Thompson and Miss Barbara Millicent Thompson, but Peter T. Brown he had ’em re-entered as “The Dowager” and “My Daughter” almost as soon as they dropped anchor. Thompson himself come poking up to the dock on the following Saturday night; Peter didn’t christen him, except to chuck out something about Milo’s being an “also ran.”
The Dowager was skipper of the Thompson craft, with “My daughter”— that’s what her ma always called her—as first mate, and Milo as general roustabout and purser.
’Twould have done you good to see the fleet run into the breakfast room of a morning, with the Dowager leading, under full sail, Barbara close up to her starboard quarter, and Milo tailing out a couple of lengths astern. The other boarders looked like quahaug dories abreast of the Marblehead Yacht Club. Oh, the Thompsons won every cup until the Smalls arrived on a Monday; then ’twas a dead heat.
Mamma Small was built on the lines of old lady Thompson, only more so, and her daughter flew pretty nigh as many pennants as Barbara. Peter T. had ’em labeled the “Duchess” and “Irene dear” in a jiffy. He didn’t nickname Small any more’n he had Thompson, and for the same reasons. Me and Cap’n Jonadab called Small “Eddie” behind his back, ’count of his wife’s hailing him as “Edwin.”