1:07 pm - Sunday June 24, 2018

A Mushroom Of Collingsville-by Eleanore H Porter-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name:A Mushroom Of Collingsville

Written by: Eleanore H Porter


Page 1:

There were three men in the hotel office that Monday evening: Jared Parker, the proprietor; Seth Wilber, town authority on all things past and present; and John Fletcher, known in Collingsville as “The Squire”–possibly because of his smattering of Blackstone; probably because of his silk hat and five-thousand-dollar bank account. Each of the three men eyed with unabashed curiosity the stranger in the doorway.

“Good-evening, gentlemen,” began a deprecatory voice. “I–er–this is the hotel?”

In a trice Jared Parker was behind the short counter.

“Certainly, sir. Room, sir?” he said suavely, pushing an open book and a pen halfway across the counter.

“H’m, yes, I–I suppose so,” murmured the stranger, as he hesitatingly crossed the floor. “H’m; one must sleep, you know,” he added, as he examined the point of the pen.

“Certainly, sir, certainly,” agreed Jared, whose face was somewhat twisted in his endeavors to smile on the prospective guest and frown at the two men winking and gesticulating over by the stove.

“H’m,” murmured the stranger a third time, as he signed his name with painstaking care. “There, that’s settled! Now where shall I find Professor Marvin, please?”

“Professor Marvin!” repeated Jared stupidly.

“Yes; Professor George Marvin,” bowed the stranger.

“Why, there ain’t no Professor Marvin, that I know of.”

“Mebbe he means old Marvin’s son,” interposed Seth Wilber with a chuckle.

The stranger turned inquiringly.

“His name’s ‘George,’ all right,” continued Seth, with another chuckle, “but I never heard of his professin’ anythin’–‘nless ‘t was laziness.”

The stranger’s face showed a puzzled frown.

“Oh–but–I mean the man who discovered that ants and–“

“Good gorry!” interrupted Seth, with a groan. “If it’s anythin’ about bugs an’ snakes, he’s yer man! Ain’t he?” he added, turning to his friends for confirmation.

Jared nodded, and Squire Fletcher cleared his throat.

“He’s done nothing but play with bugs ever since he came into the world,” said the Squire ponderously. “A most unfortunate case of an utterly worthless son born to honest, hard-working parents. He’ll bring up in the poor-house yet–or in a worse place. Only think of it–a grown man spending his time flat on his stomach in the woods counting ants’ legs and bugs’ eyes!”

“Oh, but–” The stranger stopped. The hotel-keeper had the floor.

“It began when he wa’n’t more’n a baby. He pestered the life out of his mother bringing snakes into the sittin’-room, and carrying worms in his pockets. The poor woman was most mortified to death about it. Why, once when the parson was there, George used his hat to catch butterflies with–smashed it, too.”

“Humph!” snapped the Squire. “The little beast filled one of my overshoes once, to make a swimming-tank for his dirty little fish.”

“They could n’t do nothin’ with him,” chimed in Seth Wilber. “An’ when he was older, ’twas worse. If his father set him ter hoein’ pertaters, the little scamp would be found h’istin’ up old rocks an’ boards ter see the critters under ’em crawl.”

“Yes, but–” Again the stranger was silenced.

“And in school he did n’t care nothing about ‘rithmetic nor jography,” interrupted Jared. “He was forever scarin’ the teacher into fits bringin’ in spiders an’ caterpillars, an’ asking questions about ’em.”

“Gorry! I guess ye can’t tell me no news about George Marvin’s schoolin’,” snarled Seth Wilber–“me, that’s got a son Tim what was in the same class with him. Why, once the teacher set ’em in the same seat; but Tim could n’t stand that–what with the worms an’ spiders–an’ he kicked so hard the teacher swapped ’round.”

“Yes; well–er–extraordinary, extraordinary–very!–so it is,” murmured the stranger, backing toward the door. The next moment he was out on the street asking the first person he met for the way to George Marvin’s.

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