Once there was a Family called Jump that had sampled every Ward within the Corporation Limits.
The Jumps did a Caravan Specialty every time the Frost went out of the Ground.
When the Sarsaparilla Ads began to blossom, and the Peach Crop had been ruined by the late Cold Snap and the Kids were batting up Flies in the Lot back of the Universalist Church, and a Barrel-Organ down Street was tearing the Soul out of “Trovatore”–these were the Cues for Mrs. Jump to get her Nose into the Air and begin to champ at the Bit.
Mother was a House-Hunter from away back. She claimed to be an Invalid eleven months out of the Year and took Nerve Medicine that cost $2.00 a Bottle. Just the same when April hove into view and Dame Nature began to stretch herself, then Mother put on her Short Skirt and a pair of Shoes intended for a Man and did a tall Prance.
She was good for 12 hours a Day on any kind of Pavements. With her Reticule loaded full of “To Let” Clippings, she hot-footed from Street to Street. Every time she struck a Fresh Trail she broke into a Run.
Mother was looking for a House that had twice as many Closets as Rooms and a Southern Exposure on all four sides.
She had conned herself into the Belief that some day she would run down a Queen Anne Shack that would be O.K. in all Particulars.
In the Magazine that came every Month she had seen these Dream-Pictures of Palaces that can be put up for $1,500.00, if you steal your Materials.
She had gazed at the Bunco Illustration of the swell Structure with bushy Trees dotting the Lawn and a little Girl rolling a Hoop along the Cement Side-Walk and she had set her Heart on that kind of a Home.
Mother loved to study the Plans and count the Bath-rooms and figure on Window Seats and what kind of Curtains to put in the Guest Chamber.
Every Spring she found the Place she had been seeking and gave a Grand Signal for the whole Outfit to begin packing up. Those were the bright vernal Days when Mr. Jump got all that was coming to him. Mr. Jump was a Man, therefore any old kind of a Hut suited him. For eight years before starting on his continuous Tour with Mother, he had roomed over a Drug Store.
His Apartment had been one of those delectable Man-Joints where Women never butted in to hide things and give the whole Place a Soapy Smell.
The Sweepings went under the Bed, so as not to litter up the Hallway.
Once a Year he had a House-Cleaning. That is to say, he employed a Colored Man to beat the Rugs, which had to be separated from the Floor by means of a Shovel.
Inasmuch as Women never came in to straighten up, he knew where to find everything. He knew it was somewhere in the Room and all he had to do was to excavate until he found it.
Then he hooked up with Laura so as to get a real Home and she gave him a new one every Year.
Mr. Jump soon discovered that, although every Man is the Architect of his own Fortune, the Wife usually superintends the Construction.
When Mrs. Jump made her Spring Announcement that they would move to another House, he did a deal of Kicking, but he always went into the Wood Shed to do it. He sassed her inwardly, but not so that she could hear.
She was a Wonder at framing up Reasons for hurling the Lease back at the Landlord.
One Year she quit because the Owner papered the Upstairs with a Jay Pattern that cost only 15 cents a Bolt. Another time the Family next door kept Chickens. Usually the Children across the Alley were not fit Associates for their own little Brood.