Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/268

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256
HARRIS ASTONISHED.

"No, not exactly that. I asked the questions and she answered them,"

"This is divine. Go on,—it is not possible that you forgot to inquire into her politics?"

"No, I thought of that. She is a democrat, her husband is a republican, and both of them are Baptists."

"Her husband? Is that child married?"

"She is not a child. She is married, and that is her husband who is there with her."

"Has she any children?"

"Yes,—seven and a half."

"That is impossible."

"No, she has them. She told me herself."

"Well, but seven and a half? How do you make out the half? Where does the half come in?"

"That is a child which she had by another husband,—not this one but another one,—so it is a step-child, and they do not count it full measure."

"Another husband? Has she had another husband?"

"Yes, four. This one is number four."

"I do not believe a word of it. It is impossible, upon its face. Is that boy there her brother?"

"No, that is her son. He is her youngest. He is not as old as he looks; he is only eleven and a half."

"These things are all manifestly impossible. This is a wretched business. It is a plain case: they simply took your measure, and concluded to fill you up. They seem to have succeeded. I am glad I am not in the mess; they may at least be charitable enough to think there ain't a pair of us. Are they going to stay here long?"

"No, they leave before noon."

"There is one man who is deeply grateful for that. How did you find out? You asked, I suppose?"

"No, along at first I inquired into their plans, in a general way, and they said they were going to be here a week, and make trips round about; but toward the end of the interview,