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THE BRASS TACKS OF ADVENTURE
In Wnicb Romance- Lurks Around the Corner
JOSEPH BOARDMAN, Jr.
_ft__ _>(frjSrS® !!ZS I TJNSHINE WAS 1N TTIK BOOM when Carrie awoke.
P_T < | Silently the bed exploded. A white Hare of flying
V if M *%J_ 11 Bheets went one way; Carrie herself went fluttering
_\ 'w _L ■_ H ""' ~l' 1 (' 1 ' until she broughl up against the window-
El m Bt' Sl " : ,v "' l ' l, ' r< ' s ' l( ' stood, witli the fresh morning air
W j B VJ eoinin. llirough her night-dress, leaning on the sill
y\ I 'Ik B__P '""' '"'okiiii! :IIH ' looking at the yard across tlie street.
V^*"— — r__W?l ' ! u:l ''"'' ''• s,ll ' t ' l " ll(lli -' 1 , with t lie grass all pale with
&.!_** (^l ' w '" l '"" shadows, all green and Hashing in the sun.
Bui il was (inly the yard across the street. It was
, lv( ;1 bit different, after all. And:
"Oh, dear!'' the little girl said to herself, "I wish it was real!" And again,
as it' Jim had been there: "Say, Jim, 1 do wish it was real."
11 was only yesterday afternoon that she first saw Jim. She was halfway
U |, Q_e of the fancy porch posts, and lie came tearing across the road like a
house-afire, chasing something very small ami gray and lively, which he caught
just as il was going Under Ihe porch. Me slopped ils squeaking with a stick
and held il up by the tail.
"That's a mouse," he said grinning. "Was yon scared?"
Carrie came down from the post with a bang and look the warm little body
in her hand. Baying that she wasn't afraid, and ihat it was a rat, any way, not
a mouse. Bui Jim was sure it was a mouse, ami said he was
going to bury it in Ins cemetery over in the yard; so Carrie
went across the street with him to hold the funeral. She liked
him right away; lie had been playing escape from Libby Prison
Tpder his grandfather's porch, and he was ihe dirtiest little
Miy she had ever seen.
The cemetery was a black piece of ground under a thick
leaved little cherry-tree, where it was so dark that nothing
would grow. Jim was minister and Carrie stood up and made
believe sintr The Calms, and they put apple-leaves and a big
red tiger-lily on the grave. And all the rest of the afternoon
he was showing ber the things he had in I he yard, and they
Her mother's voice __•__ Ibe foot of (lie slairs brought
her sharply on! of her window ■•musings, and Ihe little girl had
to come back to the dreariness of dressing, and after that to
breakfast ami dish-washing. Hut the first instant she could
-dip away she went pelting over into that wonderful yard.
Jim was "not I here. She found the little hidden grave just as
they had left it, except that the leaves were curling at the edges
and the tiger-lily was all wilted ami bloody-looking. There
was no fun in standing there looking at it. so she went on to
the circus-ground Jim bad shown her. where there were two
big clothes posls all ready Tor the leul and trapeze. Over by
Ihe high brick wall, Jim said In' had laid out a city. The
Public Gardens were all done, with a fountain that had real
water in it ami wooden lisb with tin tins. Then, in the open
ground behind (here wwc great ranches and herds of wild
steers and cowboys; and off Ihe other way, toward the fence,
were woods for hunting in: Iwo clumps of snowball-bushes,
some artichokes and thickets of high-grown asparagus.
Carrie looked at the water-logged little fish, and at the
park lawns where new grass was coming up in patches like a
funny green rash on the ground, and tried hard to believe in
them. When dim was there it was all real; she could make
out the little city all around her with its-long, straight streets
and its speeding trolley-cars elevators, too, in all the houses,
Jim said. Bui now she knew it was a play city, only an ordi
nary dooryard like her own. and so she wanted Jim.
She heard him presently as he came clumping down the
brick walk, lie turned the corner quickly and leaned against
the house and never saw her.
"Say, Jim!" she called gaily; then saw he was crying, and
"Wha-aw-aw?" he wailed, his head still against the wall.
"Say, what-- what _ the matter?"
'•They 're a-playin' circus," he got out, turning half-choked.
''An' T can't. Not even hold up the tent. Said I was a fresh
An' I gbt a rock, an' Pete Morrissey he basted me. Wi'
his fist! An' — Ow-wow—"
"Huh!" said Carrie, coming closer. "Bawlin' over playin'
circus! Before I'd cry over that! Cry-baby! Say, Cry-baby!"
Jim whirled and laced her. his tists doubled up, water
running off his round, dirty chin. He was more ashamed of
crying before her than before any ordinary girl. Her face
was longisli and not very white; her nose was long; her hair
was reddy-brown, and it hung down her back in a thick, solid
I i'_ tail with an elastic at the end, so that she had no ribbons
in bother with. She looked that same way all over; like a
elimbing-around kind of girl who wouldn't cry. So Jim felt
cold inside, as if his tears were freezing up, and stopped,
"I ain't no cry-baby," lie shouted.
"All right," stiid Carrie. "Now, let's us play sinnplh'n'."
Ittudrations by Frederic dorr Steele
"Lei 's play circus."
"I don'l want to play cimis. 1 want to piny bavin' adventures — an' now
you 're a-goiu' to bawl."
Thai brought on a <piarrel; but. wlien they had made it up Jim said he
would play adventures. Carrie didn't know wha! kind she wanted jnsl
"What's out .there?" she asked suddenly, pointing.
"That.'s — well, I tell yon," Jim said in a low voice, kicking one toe on the
ground. "I — 1 don't go out there much. There's jungles an' —snakes. You
see out beyond the ocean, where they 's them steps up? Well, out there I jilay
it's all foreign."
"Jungles.'" said Carrie, skipping. '"Ob, Goody! Come on, let 'a get into 'em."
They did, Hrst crossing the ocean in the no-wheeled body of an express
wagon that lay at (he top of the little bank. It was a stormy passage, and they
found themselves 5...,,w i .'eked al last on an unknown shore. Then, they prowled
in between the grape trellis and the high brick wall, through a rank, wild growth
of tomato-vines and hollyhocks and high-standing corn. Jim was afraid of the
place; but he crawled ahead all the same, and showed Carrie the very hollow
between the corn-stalks where he had seeji the snake. When at last they came
to the stable, the girl jumped to her feet and stood looking up at the garden
wall beside them.
Carrie looked at him dumbly, pitying him. She felt the ought to have made him sit down before