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Rising water
by [?]

“If only my poor child had a sensible mother,” said Mrs. Tressady, calmly, “I suppose we would get Big Hong’s ‘carshen’ for him, and that would do perfectly! But I will not have a Chinese man for Timothy’s nurse! It seems all wrong, somehow.”

“Big Hong hasn’t got a female cousin, I suppose?” said Timothy’s father; “a Chinese woman wouldn’t be so bad.” “Oh, I think it would be as bad–nearly,” Mrs. Tressady returned with vivacity. “Anyway, this particular carshen is a man–‘My carshen lun floot store’–that’s who it is!”

“Will you kindly explain what ‘My carshen lun floot store’ means?” asked a young man who was lying in a hammock that he lazily moved now and then by means of a white-shod foot. This was Peter Porter, who, with his wife, completed the little group on the Tressadys’ roomy, shady side porch.

“It means my cousin who runs a fruit store,” supplied Mrs. Porter–a big-boned, superb blonde who was in a deep chair sewing buttons on Timothy Tressady’s new rompers. “Even I can see that–if I’m not a native of California.”

“Yes, that’s it,” Mrs. Tressady said absently. “Go back and read those Situations Wanted over again, Jerry,” she commanded with a decisive snip of the elastic she was cunningly inserting into more new rompers for Timothy.

Jerry Tressady obediently sat up in his steamer chair and flattened a copy of the Emville Mail upon his knee.

The problem under discussion this morning was that of getting a nurse for Timothy Tressady, aged two years. Elma, the silent, undemonstrative Swedish woman who had been with the family since Timothy’s birth, had started back to Stockholm two months ago, and since then at least a dozen unsatisfactory applicants for her position had taken their turn at the Rising Water Ranch.

Mrs. Tressady, born and brought up in New York, sometimes sighed as she thought of her mother’s capped and aproned maids; of Aunt Anna’s maids; of her sister Lydia’s maids. Sometimes in the hot summer, when the sun hung directly over the California bungalow for seven hours every day, and the grass on the low, rolling hills all about was dry and slippery, when Joe Parlona forgot to drive out from Emville with ice and mail, and Elma complained that Timmy could not eat his luncheon on the porch because of buzzing “jellow yackets,” Molly Tressady found herself thinking other treasonable thoughts–thoughts of packing, of final telegrams, of the Pullman sleeper, of Chicago in a blowing mist of rain, of the Grand Central at twilight, with the lights of taxicabs beginning to move one by one into the current of Forty-second Street–and her heart grew sick with longings. And sometimes in winter, when rain splashed all day from the bungalow eaves, and Beaver Creek rose and flooded its banks and crept inch by inch toward the garden gate, and when from the late dawn to the early darkness not a soul came near the ranch–she would have sudden homesick memories of Fifth Avenue, three thousand miles away, with its motor-cars and its furred women and its brilliant tea-rooms. She would suddenly remember the opera-house and the long line of carriages in the snow, and the boys calling the opera scores.

However, for such moods the quickest cure was a look at Jerry–strong, brown, vigorous Jerry–tramping the hills, writing his stories, dreaming over his piano, and sleeping deep and restfully under the great arch of the stars. Jerry had had a cold four years ago–“just a mean cold,” had been the doctor’s cheerful phrase; but what terror it struck to the hearts that loved Jerry! Molly’s eyes, flashing to his mother’s eyes, had said: “Like his father–like his aunt–like the little sister who died!” And for the first time Jerry’s wife had found herself glad that little Jerry Junior–he who could barely walk, who had as yet no words–had gone away from them fearlessly into the great darkness a year before. He might have grown up to this, too.