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- Cy Whittaker's Place - 1/57 -


CY WHITTAKER'S PLACE

by JOSEPH C. LINCOLN

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I.--THE PERFECT BOARDING HOUSE

II.--THE WANDERER'S RETURN

III.--"FIXIN' OVER"

IV.--BAILEY BANGS'S EXPERIMENT

V.--A FRONT DOOR CALLER

VI.--ICICLES AND DUST

VII.--CAPTAIN CY PROVES DELINQUENT

VIII.--THE "COW LADY"

IX.--POLITICS AND BIRTHDAYS

X.--A LETTER AND A VISITOR

XI.--A BARGAIN OFF

XII.--"TOWN MEETIN'"

XIII.--THE REPULSE

XIV.--A CLEW

XV.--DEBBY BEASLEY TO THE RESCUE

XVI.--A REMARKABLE DRIVE AND WHAT FOLLOWED

XVII.--THE CAPTAIN REMEMBERS HIS AGE

XVIII.--CONGRESSMAN EVERDEAN

XIX.--THE TOPPLING OF A MONUMENT

XX.--DIVIDED HONORS

XXI.--CAPTAIN CY'S "PICTURE"

CY WHITTAKER'S PLACE

CHAPTER I

THE PERFECT BOARDING HOUSE

It is queer, but Captain Cy himself doesn't remember whether the day was Tuesday or Wednesday. Asaph Tidditt's records ought to settle it, for there was a meeting of the board of selectmen that day, and Asaph has been town clerk in Bayport since the summer before the Baptist meeting house burned. But on the record the date, in Asaph's handwriting, stands "Tuesday, May 10, 189-" and, as it happens, May 10 of that year fell on Wednesday, not Tuesday at all.

Keturah Bangs, who keeps "the perfect boarding house," says it was Tuesday, because she remembers they had fried cod cheeks and cabbage that day--as they have every Tuesday--and neither Mr. Tidditt nor Bailey Bangs, Keturah's husband, was on hand when the dinner bell rang. Keturah says she is certain it was Tuesday, because she remembers smelling the boiled cabbage as she stood at the side door, looking up the road to see if either Asaph or Bailey was coming. As for Bailey, he says he remembers being late to dinner and his wife's "startin' to heave a broadsides into him" because of it, but he doesn't remember what day it was. This isn't surprising; Keturah's verbal cannonades are likely to make one forgetful of trifles.

At any rate, whether Tuesday or Wednesday, it is certain that it was quarter past twelve, according to the clock presented to the Methodist Society by the Honorable Heman Atkins, when Asaph Tidditt came down the steps of the townhall, after the selectmen's meeting, and saw Bailey Bangs waiting for him on the opposite side of the road.

"Hello, Ase!" hailed Mr. Bangs. "You'll be late to dinner, if you don't hurry. I was headin' for home, all sail sot, when I see you. What kept you?"

"Town business, of course," replied Mr. Tidditt, with the importance pertaining to his official position. "What kept YOU, for the land sakes? Won't Ketury be in your wool?"

Bailey hasn't any "wool" worth mentioning now, and he had very little more then, but he mopped his forehead, or the extension above it, taking off his cap to do so.

"I cal'late she will," he said, uneasily. "Tell you the truth, Ase, I was up to the store, and Cap'n Josiah Dimick and some more of 'em drifted in and we got talkin' about the chances of the harbor appropriation, and one thing or 'nother, and 'twas later'n I thought 'twas 'fore I knew it."

The appropriation from the government, which was to deepen and widen our harbor here at Bayport, was a very vital topic among us just then. Heman Atkins, the congressman from our district, had promised to do his best for the appropriation, and had for a time been very sanguine of securing it. Recently, however, he had not been quite as hopeful.

"What's Cap'n Josiah think about the chances?" asked Asaph eagerly.

"Well, sometimes he thinks 'Yes' and then again he thinks 'No,'" replied Bailey. "He says, of course, if Heman is able to get it he will, but if he ain't able to, he--he--"

"He won't, I s'pose. Well, _I_ can think that myself, and I don't set up to be no inspired know-it-all, like Joe Dimick. He ain't heard from Heman lately, has he?"

"No, he ain't. Neither's anybody else, so fur as I can find out."

"Oh, yes, they have. _I_ have, for one."

Mr. Bangs stopped short in his double-quick march for home and dinner, and looked his companion in the face.

"Ase Tidditt!" he cried. "Do you mean to tell me you've had a letter from Heman Atkins, from Washin'ton?"

Asaph nodded portentously.

"Yes, sir," he declared. "A letter from the Honorable Heman G. Atkins, of Washin'ton, D. C., come to me last night. I read it afore I turned in."

"You did! And never said nothin' about it?"

"Why should I say anything about it? 'Twas addressed to me as town clerk, and was concernin' a matter to be took up with the board of s'lectmen. I ain't in the habit of hollerin' town affairs through a speakin' trumpet. Folks that vote for me town-meetin' day know that, I guess. Angie Phinney says to me only yesterday, 'Mr. Tidditt,' says she, 'there's one thing I'll say for you--you don't talk.'"

Miss Phinney boarded with the Bangses, and Bailey was acquainted with her personal peculiarities; for that matter so were most of Bayport's permanent residents.

"Humph!" he snorted indignantly. "She thought 'twas a good thing not to talk, hey? SHE did? Well, by mighty! you never get no CHANCE to talk when she's around. Angie Phinney! Why, when that poll parrot of hers died, Alph'us Smalley declared up and down that what killed it was jealousy and disapp'inted ambition; he said it broke its heart tryin' to keep up with Angie. Her ma was the same breed of cats. I remember--"

The talking proclivities of females is the one topic upon which Keturah's husband is touchiest. Asaph knew this, but he delighted to stir up his chum occasionally. He chuckled as he interrupted the flow of reminiscence.

"There, there, Bailey!" he exclaimed. "I know as much about Angie's tribe as you do, I cal'late. Ain't we a little mite off the course? Seems to me we was talkin' about Heman's letter."

"Is that so? I judged from what you said we wa'n't goin' to talk about it. Aw, don't be so mean, Ase! Showin' off your importance like a young one! What did Heman say about the appropriation? Is he goin' to get it?"

Mr. Tidditt paused before replying. Then, bending over, he whispered in his chum's ear:

"He never said one word about the appropriation, Bailey; not one word. He wanted to know if we'd got this year's taxes on the Whittaker place. And, if we hadn't, what was we goin' to do about it? Bailey, between you and me and the mizzenmast, Heman Atkins wants to get ahold of that place the worst way."

"He does? He DOES? For the land sakes, ain't he got property enough already? Ain't a--a palace like that enough for one man, without wantin' to buy a rattletrap like THAT?"

The first "that" was emphasized by a brandished but reverent left hand; the second by a derisively pointing right. The two friends had reached the crest of the long slope leading up from the townhall. On one side of the road stretched the imposing frontage of the "Atkins estate," with its iron fence and stone posts; on the


Cy Whittaker's Place - 1/57

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