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and during the summer had uttered numerous complaints, was finding fault toward the close of the season with some omission or commission, the conductor, whose patience had been entirely exhausted, turned upon him with,
“You have been casting slurs on our railroad all summer; now what do you know about it?”
Why, I have been spending the season at Flushing, and have been traveling on it.”
“ Then let me tell you, it is as well managed as other railroads, and if you don't like it you need not ride on it. I don't want any passengers who are not satisfied."
This was putting things on their true basis; some silly people think it a swindle when certain times are advertised but not kept, when boats are taken off without notice, connections are not made, and the time of passengers is wasted; but they seem to forget that they need not go by rail. If they do not wish to ride, they can always walk; the choice is open to them, and Flushing is only six miles off.
NOTE.--Since the foregoing was written all this has been changed. The railroad has been put in charge of a newspaper editor. It now has the finest cars, the best conductors, and makes the most regular time of any road in the United States. My lots are not all sold yet.
“If 'twere well done when 'twere done, 'twere well 'twere done quickly.”
OME of the incidents connected with digging
our well have already been referred to, but good water is so necessary to a country place that the mode of obtaining it deserves a separate chapter. Well-digging is a profession, and the most cultivated master of the art to be found in the neighborhood had been engaged, immediately after the foundation of the house was commenced, to dig the well. It was strange, however, how many people at about the same time had determined to do the same thing; it seemed as though the entire village had been seized with a mania for sinking wells. He was exceedingly busy, and was compelled, much against his wishes, to demand an exorbitant price for his services. He regretted it deeply, but he would have to ask four dollars and a half a foot. As the ordinary price was about a dollar, it was certainly honest of him to explain beforehand the necessities of his situation;
and although it was inconvenient that the villagers should have been stricken with this fancy at so inopportune a moment, it was certainly fortunate that the man was so honest. He was employed at once, and strongly impressed with the necessity of the utmost haste.
It is probable that his other engagements engrossed much of his time. The well did not progress rapidly; but, as it soon appeared that the house would not be completed for occupation before the ensuing summer, the immediate necessity for drinking-water was done away with. There is a wonderful romance about the old oaken bucket.” Many a time in youthful days have I plunged my nose into its liquid contents, and choked myself, and poured the water down my shirt-front, in frantic endeavors to drink from its thick rim; often have I lowered the empty vessel far into the bowels of the earth, and jumped it up and down at the risk of dashing it to pieces against the stone sides, in order to fill it, and then puffed over the heavy pull of bringing it, laden with the cooling crystal, to the surface. With due reverence have I studied the many poetical things which have been said in its honor; but the days of oaken buckets are numbered; they have been succeeded by force - pumps, and chain
pumps, and iron pumps, that save the muscles, but offend the sensibilities.
Were it not that I was subject to the dominion of several Irish maidens, denominated servants, I should certainly have sacrificed utility to beauty; but, under the force of a ukase from them, I was compelled to buy a pump. Of the various patterns of these, a pretty iron one had taken my fancy, and no sooner was the well completed than it was purchased. Unfortunately, the entire village of Flushing was then putting in pumps, and there was no possibility of having it set up for two entire weeks. We had just occupied the house opposite, which had no well, and we depended for water upon our own.
Reader, have you ever hauled up water from a well in a pail ? If you have not, you should learn to do it; it requires skill and courage. You must balance yourself carefully on a few loose planks, and, peering down giddily into the dark hole that yawns beneath, you must lower the pail with a long rope for what seems an endless distance, and when it reaches the bottom, will have to jerk it about vigorously, as it obstinately refuses for a long time to fill; and then you must draw up carefully the heavy weight that threatens to pull you in, instead of your pulling it out; and manage not to let it touch the sides, as that will spill the contents. All the while the slipping of board, or earth, or foot will necessitate the calling together of a coroner's jury.
It is a pity that there is no way of falling down a well-comfortably. If you go down head foremost, your
feet stick out above the water, it is true, but you do not breathe through that portion of the body; if you strike feet foremost, the climb back is such a long and uncertain journey; and if you go down doubled up, you are apt to find trouble in straightening out. Every time a maid went to the well I speculated as to which of these modes she would follow, and feared that the case of the broken pitcher would be illustrated.
This state of things lasted some time, as the pumpmaker found his Flushing customers more exacting than even he expected; or possibly his workmen had gone on more sprees than he allowed for. Three weeks had gone by, and we were still drawing water; and, what is more, the water which we did with such infinite pains draw up was far from good. We had been warned that for some time after its completion the well would be dirty; that before it was finished one or more Irishmen would have to work waist deep in the water, which would not recover from their presence for a long while; but, instead