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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPomona's Travels - Letter Number Twenty
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Pomona's Travels - Letter Number Twenty Post by :ow24160 Category :Long Stories Author :Frank R Stockton Date :May 2012 Read :3074

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Pomona's Travels - Letter Number Twenty

EDINBURGH

We have been here five or six days now, but the first thing I must write is the rest of the story of the lovers. We left Buxton the next day after their flight, and I begged Jone to stop at Carlisle and let us make a little trip to Gretna Green. I wanted to see the place that has been such a well-spring of matrimonial joys, and besides, I thought we might find Pomeroy and Angelica still there.

I had not seen old Snortfrizzle again, but late that night I had heard a row in the hotel, and I expect it was him back from the Cat and Fiddle. Whether he was inquiring for me or not I don't know, or what he was doing, or what he did.

Jone thought I had done a good deal of meddling in other people's business, but he agreed to go to Gretna Green, and we got there in the afternoon. I left Jone to take a smoke at the station, because I thought this was a business it would be better for me to attend to myself, and I started off to look up the village blacksmith and ask him if he had lately wedded a pair; but, will you believe it, madam, I had not gone far on the main road of the village when, a little ahead of me, I saw two bath-chairs coming toward me, one of them pulled by Robertson, and the other by Pomeroy's man, and in these two chairs was the happy lovers, evidently Mr. and Mrs.! Their faces was filled with light enough to take a photograph, and I could almost see their hearts swelling with transcendent joy. I hastened toward them, and in an instant our hands was clasped as if we had been old friends.

They told me their tale. They had reached the station in plenty of time, and Robertson had got a carriage for them, and he and the other man had gone with them third class, with the bath-chairs in the goods carriages. They had reached Gretna Green that morning, and had been married two hours. Then I told my tale. The eyes of both of them was dimmed with tears, hers the most, and again they clasped my hands. "Poor father," said Angelica, "I hope he didn't go all the way to the Cat and Fiddle, and that the night air didn't strike into his joints; but he cannot separate us now." And she looked confiding at the other bath-chair.

"What are you going to do?" said I, and they said they had just been making plans. I saw, though, that their minds was in too exalted a state to do this properly for themselves, and so I reflected a minute. "How long have you been in Buxton?"

"I have been there two weeks and two days," said she, "and my husband"--oh, the effulgence that filled her countenance as she said this--"has been there one day longer."

"Then," said I, "my advice to you is to go back to Buxton and stay there five days, until you both have taken the waters and the baths for the full three weeks. It won't be much to bear the old gentleman's upbraiding for five days, and then, blessed with health and love, you can depart. No matter what you do afterward, I'd stick it out at Buxton for five days."

"We'll do it," said they; and then, after more gratitude and congratulations, we parted.

And now I must tell you about ourselves. When Jone had been three weeks at Buxton, and done all the things he ought to do, and hadn't done anything he oughtn't to do, he hadn't any more rheumatism in him than a squirrel that jumps from bough to bough. But will you believe it, madam, I had such a rheumatism in one side and one arm that it made me give little squeaks when I did up my back hair, and it all came from my taking the baths when there wasn't anything the matter with me; for I found out, but all too late, that while the waters of Buxton will cure rheumatism in people that's got it, they will bring it out in people who never had it at all. We was told that we ought not to do anything in the bathing line without the advice of a doctor; but those little tanks in the floors of the bathrooms, all lined with tiles and filled with warm, transparent water, that you went down into by marble steps, did seem so innocent, that I didn't believe there was no need in asking questions about them. Jone wanted me to stay three weeks longer until I was cured, but I wouldn't listen to that. I was wild to get to Scotland, and as my rheumatism did not hinder me from walking, I didn't mind what else it did.

And there is another thing I must tell you. One day when I was sitting by myself on The Slopes waiting for Jone, about lunch time, and with a reminiscence floating through my mind of the Devonshire clotted cream of the past, never perhaps to return, I saw an elderly woman coming along, and when she got near she stopped and spoke. I knew her in an instant. She was the old body we met at the Babylon Hotel, who told us about the cottage at Chedcombe. I asked her to sit down beside me and talk, because I wanted to tell her what good times we had had, and how we liked the place, but she said she couldn't, as she was obliged to go on.

"And did you like Chedcombe?" said she. "I hope you and your husband kept well."

I said yes, except Jone's rheumatism, we felt splendid; for my aches hadn't come on then, and I was going on to gush about the lovely country she had sent us to, but she didn't seem to want to listen.

"Really," said she, "and your husband had the rheumatism. It was a wise thing for you to come here. We English people have reason to be proud of our country. If we have our banes, we also have our antidotes; and it isn't every country that can say that, is it?"

(Illustration: "And did you like Chedcombe?")

I wanted to speak up for America, and tried to think of some good antidote with the proper banes attached; but before I could do it she gave her head a little wag, and said, "Good morning; nice weather, isn't it?" and wobbled away. It struck me that the old body was a little lofty, and just then Mr. Poplington, who I hadn't noticed, came up.

"Really," said he, "I didn't know you was acquainted with the Countess."

"The which?" said I.

"The Countess of Mussleby," said he, "that you was just talking to."

"Countess!" I cried. "Why, that's the old person who recommended us to go to Chedcombe."

"Very natural," said he, "for her to do that, for her estates lie south of Chedcombe, and she takes a great interest in the villages around about, and knows all the houses to let."

I parted from him and wandered away, a sadness stealing o'er my soul. Gone with the recollections of the clotted cream was my visions of diamond tiaras, tossing plumes, and long folds of brocades and laces sweeping the marble floors of palaces. If ever again I read a novel with a countess in it, I shall see the edge of a yellow flannel petticoat and a pair of shoes like two horse-hair bags, which was the last that I saw of this thunderbolt into the middle of my visions of aristocracy.

Jone and me got to like Buxton very much. We met many pleasant people, and as most of them had a chord in common, we was friendly enough. Jone said it made him feel sad in the smoking-room to see the men he'd got acquainted with get well and go home, but that's a kind of sadness that all parties can bear up under pretty well.

I haven't said a word yet about Scotland, though we have been here a week, but I really must get something about it into this letter. I was saying to Jone the other day that if I was to meet a king with a crown on his head I am not sure that I should know that king if I saw him again, so taken up would I be with looking at his crown, especially if it had jewels in it such as I saw in the regalia at the Tower of London. Now Edinburgh seems to strike me in very much the same way. Prince Street is its crown, and whenever I think of this city it will be of this magnificent street and the things that can be seen from it.

It is a great thing for a street to have one side of it taken away and sunk out of sight so that there is a clear view far and wide, and visitors can stand and look at nearly everything that is worth seeing in the whole town, as if they was in the front seats of the balcony in a theatre, and looking on the stage. You know I am very fond of the theatre, madam, but I never saw anything in the way of what they call spectacular representation that came near Edinburgh as seen from Prince Street.

But as I said in one of my first letters, I am not going to write about things and places that you can get much better description of in books, and so I won't take up any time in telling how we stand at the window of our room at the Royal Hotel, and look out at the Old Town standing like a forest of tall houses on the other side of the valley, with the great castle perched up high above them, and all the hills and towers and the streets all spread out below us, with Scott's monument right in front, with everybody he ever wrote about standing on brackets, which stick out everywhere from the bottom up to the very top of the monument, which is higher than the tallest house, and looks like a steeple without a church to it. It is the most beautiful thing of the kind I ever saw, and I have made out, or think I have, nearly every one of the figures that's carved on it.

I think I shall like the Scotch people very much, but just now there is one thing about them that stands up as high above their other good points as the castle does above the rest of the city, and that is the feeling they have for anybody who has done anything to make his fellow-countrymen proud of him. A famous Scotchman cannot die without being pretty promptly born again in stone or bronze, and put in some open place with seats convenient for people to sit and look at him. I like this; glory ought to begin at home.

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BUXTONI have a good many things to tell you, for we leave Buxton to-morrow, but I will first finish the story of Angelica and Pomeroy. I think the men who pulled the bath-chairs of the lovers knew pretty much how things was going, for whenever they got a chance they brought their chairs together, and I often noticed them looking out for the old father, and if they saw him coming they would move away from each other if they happened to be together.If Snortfrizzle's puller had been one of the regular bath-chair men they might have made an agreement with
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