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The Story of Grandma, Lorenzo, and the Monkey

by Mrs. A. M. Diaz

 

The children told the Family Story-Teller they did not believe he could make a story about a grandma going to mill. "Especially," said the children's mother, "a grandma troubled with rheumatism."

Family Story-Teller smiled, as much as to say, "You shall see," took a few minutes to think, and began:

In Grandma Stimpcett's trunk was a very small, leathery, beady bag, and in this bag was a written recipe for the Sudden Remedy—a sure cure for rheumatism, sprains, bruises, and all lamenesses. The bag and the recipe were given her by an Indian woman. To make the Sudden Remedy, grandma got roots, herbs, barks, twigs, leaves, mints, moss, and tree gum. These were scraped, grated, or pounded; sifted, weighed, measured, stewed, and stirred; and the juice simmered down with the oil of juniper, and bumble-bees' wax, and various smarty, peppery, slippery things whose names must be kept private for a particular reason. The Sudden Remedy cured her instantly; and as meal was wanted, and no other person could be spared from the place, she offered to go to mill.

She went in the vehicle—an old chaise which had lost its top—taking with her her bottle of the Sudden Remedy, in case, as Mr. Stimpcett said, the rheumatism should return before she did.

"Shall you be back by sunset?" asked Mr. Stimpcett, as he fastened the bag underneath the vehicle.

"Oh yes," said she; "I shall eat dinner at Debby's, and come away right after dinner. You will see me back long before sunset." Her daughter Debby lived at Mill Village.

Mr. Stimpcett shook his head. "I don't know about that," said he.

"If I am not back before sunset," said she, "I will give you—give you five hundred dollars."

The people laughed at this; for all the money grandma had was only about twenty dollars, put away in case of need.

Now when grandma had driven perhaps two miles on her way to mill, she stopped at a farm-house to water her horse; and here something curious happened. A woman came to the door of the house, and the next moment a large boy, named Lorenzo, hopped out on one foot and two canes, and began stumping about the yard at a furious rate, cackling, crowing, and barking.

"That's the way he does when he can't sit still any longer," said the woman. "He has to sit still a great deal, on account of a lame knee, which is a pity," said she, "for a spry fellow like him; a good, true-spoken fellow he is, too." The woman then told how he lamed his knee.

Lorenzo said he wanted very much the use of his legs that day, because there was to be a circus just beyond Mill Village. He said he wanted to go to the circus so much he did not know what to do. He said he began when he was four years old to go to circuses, and he had been to every circus that had come around since. "Now this circus is only a little more than two miles off," said he, "and here I am cooped up like a hoppled horse."

"THIS BOTTLE CONTAINS THE SUDDEN REMEDY." "THIS BOTTLE CONTAINS THE SUDDEN REMEDY."

Grandma smiled, and took out the bottle. "This bottle," said she, "contains the Sudden Remedy—a quick cure for rheumatism, sprains, bruises, and all lamenesses. Rub on with a flannel, and rub in briskly."

Lorenzo rubbed on with a flannel, and rubbed in briskly, and then seated himself upon a stone to hear the stories grandma and the woman were telling of people who had been upset, or thrown from horses, or had fallen over stone walls, into wells, or down from trees, rocks, house-tops, or chamber windows. Lorenzo told some stories, and at last, in acting out one, he thrust forward his lame leg, without thinking of it, and found it was no longer lame. He tried it again; he sprang up; he stepped; he walked; he leaped; he skipped; he ran; he hurrahed; he flung his canes away.

Grandma then invited Lorenzo to ride with her to Mill Village, near which the circus was to be; and he quickly took a seat in the vehicle, and having no time to put on his best clothes, he put on only his best hat, tipping it one side in order to give himself a little of a dressed-up look.

When grandma and Lorenzo reached Mill Village, Lorenzo got out at a pea-nut stand, and grandma drove on to her daughter Debby's. She had just stepped from the vehicle when Lorenzo came running to beg that she would bring her Sudden Remedy to the miller's house, for the miller had been taken that morning with the darting rheumatism, and the mill was not running, and people were waiting with their corn.

Lorenzo drove grandma to the miller's house, and in two hours' time the miller was in the mill, the wheel turning, and the corn grinding—grandma's corn among the rest.

Something which was very important to the circus will now be told. The Chief Jumper—the one who was to do the six wonderful things—lamed his foot the night before, and could not jump. Now when the man who owned the circus was looking at the Chief Jumper's foot, a circus errand-boy in uniform passed by. This errand-boy had been to the mill to get corn for the circus horses, and he told the man who owned the circus that a woman had just cured the miller of the darting rheumatism, and told the name of the medicine.

The circus owner took one of the circus riding wagons and the errand-boy in uniform and set off immediately to find the woman who had the Sudden Remedy, and found grandma at her daughter Debby's, just stepping into the vehicle to go home. Lorenzo was there, fastening the bag of meal securely under the vehicle. The circus owner offered grandma five dollars if she would go and cure his Chief Jumper, and as there was time to do that and reach home before sunset, she went, Lorenzo driving her in the vehicle. The circus owner and the errand-boy in uniform kept just in front of them, and some children who knew no better said that that kind-looking old lady and the great boy belonged to the circus, and had their circus clothes in the bag underneath.

Grandma was taken into a tent which led out of the big tent, where she saw the Chief Jumper in full jumping costume, and the Dwarf, and the Fat Man, and the Clown, and the Flying Cherub; and the Remedy worked so well that the Chief Jumper thought he might jump higher than ever before.

THE LAME MONKEY. THE LAME MONKEY.

The Clown led grandma to the cage where monkeys were kept, and asked her if she would be willing to cure a poor suffering monkey whose leg had been hurt by a stone thrown by a cruel boy. Grandma said, certainly, for that she pitied even an animal that had to suffer pain. The Clown then took the monkey, and held its paw while grandma patted its head and stroked its back, and poured on the Remedy, the Flying Cherub standing near by to see what was to be done.

The circus owner invited grandma to stay to the circus; but as she had not time, he paid her eight dollars, and led her to the vehicle.

Now we are coming to the most wonderful part of my story. People going home from mill had told the tale of the miller's cure, and on her way back grandma was stopped by various people, who begged her to come into their houses and cure rheumatism, sprains, bruises, and other lamenesses. This took a great deal of time; but the kind-hearted old lady was so anxious to ease pain that she forgot all about her promise to Mr. Stimpcett, and when she reached home it was ten minutes past sunset.

Three buggies stood near Mr. Stimpcett's house. Grandma thought they were doctors' buggies. "Oh dear!" she said to herself, "something dreadful must be the matter!" She counted the children playing at the door-step. They were all there—Moses, Obadiah, Deborah, and little Cordelia.

At this moment Mr. Stimpcett came forward and said to grandma that three gentlemen had come, one after another, and had each asked to have a private talk with her. There was a large fleshy man in the front room, a chubby little man in the kitchen, and a sleek, long-faced man in the spare chamber.

Grandma talked with these, one at a time. They were all medicine sellers. Each one wished to buy the recipe for making the Sudden Remedy, and would pay a good price for it. For they knew that thousands and thousands of barrels of this Remedy could be sold all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Central America, and enormous sums of money made by the sale.

The summer boarder, Mr. St. Clair, said that the man who would pay the most money for it ought to have the recipe. Grandma brought from her trunk the small, leathery, beady bag which contained the recipe, and Mr. St. Clair stood in the vehicle, held up the bag, and said: "Bid! gentlemen, bid! How much do I have for it?"

The bidding was interrupted by a Jumper. It was a circus Jumper, but not the Chief Jumper. While the people were all looking at Mr. St. Clair, a monkey sprang from the meal bag underneath the vehicle and jumped upon grandma's shoulder, nearly knocking her over. It was the same one she had cured. On account of his lameness, he had been loosely tied, and from a feeling of thankfulness, no doubt, for being cured, he had run away and followed grandma.

The Stimpcett children—Moses, Obadiah, Deborah, and little Cordelia—shouted and capered so that the selling of the recipe could hardly go on; but at last it was sold, leathery, beady bag and all, to the sleek, long-faced man, for nine hundred dollars, of which grandma gave five hundred to Mr. Stimpcett, according to the promise she made before going to mill.

THE TWO-CENT SIDE-SHOW. THE TWO-CENT SIDE-SHOW.

The circus people were written to, but as they did not send for Jacko, he was kept for the children, to play with. Mrs. Stimpcett dressed him in a pretty suit of clothes, with a cap and feather on his head. He showed much affection for grandma, followed her about daytimes both in-doors and out, and would sleep nowhere at night but at the foot of her bed, where a bandbox was at last placed for him. The children loved him dearly; but poor Jacko did so much mischief in trying to knit, and to cook, and to weed the garden, that it was finally declared that something must be done about that monkey; and grandma gave him to Lorenzo, with money enough to buy a grand harmonica.

Lorenzo came for the monkey toward the close of a calm summer's day, and fed him with frosted cake, which caused him to feel pleased with Lorenzo. There was a string fastened to his collar; Lorenzo took the string in one hand, and some frosted cake in the other, and led Jacko away. The children—Moses, and Obadiah, and Deborah, and little Cordelia—following on for quite a distance, all weeping.

Lorenzo went about for some time with a circus company. Evenings he staid inside the big tent to see the doings, and daytimes he had a two-cent side-show in a small tent of his own, where the monkey played wonderful tricks, and marched to the music of the grand harmonica.

At last he came to grandma, and told her that as for the Clown, he was a kind-hearted, sensible man, but that the others were commonly either drunk, or cross, or both, and that he had to travel nights, wet or dry, and that he was sick of that kind of life. He sold the monkey to a hand-organ man, and went back to live in his old home; and the last that was known of Jacko he was seen in the streets of a town carrying round the hand-organ man's hat for pennies.

It was grandma and Mr. Stimpcett who saw him, as they were riding past in the vehicle; and he saw them, and gave a bound, and broke his string, and leaped into the vehicle, and clasped his paws round grandma's neck; and the hand-organ man was obliged to place six maple-sugar cakes in a row upon the sidewalk before Jacko would return to him.

The sleek, long-faced man made his fortune by selling the Sudden Remedy, but few of those who bought it and took it knew what old lady it was who sold him the recipe for it.

The Family Story-Teller's next was a story of mistakes, and odd mistakes they were.