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The Peterkins At The Farm
by [?]

Yes, at last they had reached the seaside, after much talking and deliberation, and summer after summer the journey had been constantly postponed.

But here they were at last, at the “Old Farm,” so called, where seaside attractions had been praised in all the advertisements. And here they were to meet the Sylvesters, who knew all about the place, cousins of Ann Maria Bromwick. Elizabeth Eliza was astonished not to find them there, though she had not expected Ann Maria to join them till the very next day.

Their preparations had been so elaborate that at one time the whole thing had seemed hopeless; yet here they all were. Their trunks, to be sure, had not arrived; but the wagon was to be sent back for them, and, wonderful to tell, they had all their hand-baggage safe.

Agamemnon had brought his Portable Electrical Machine and Apparatus, and the volumes of the Encyclopaedia that might tell him how to manage it, and Solomon John had his photograph camera. The little boys had used their india-rubber boots as portmanteaux, filling them to the brim, and carrying one in each hand,–a very convenient way for travelling they considered it; but they found on arriving (when they wanted to put their boots directly on, for exploration round the house), that it was somewhat inconvenient to have to begin to unpack directly, and scarcely room enough could be found for all the contents in the small chamber allotted to them.

There was no room in the house for the electrical machine and camera. Elizabeth Eliza thought the other boarders were afraid of the machine going off; so an out-house was found for them, where Agamemnon and Solomon John could arrange them.

Mrs. Peterkin was much pleased with the old-fashioned porch and low-studded rooms, though the sleeping-rooms seemed a little stuffy at first.

Mr. Peterkin was delighted with the admirable order in which the farm was evidently kept. From the first moment he arrived he gave himself to examining the well-stocked stables and barns, and the fields and vegetable gardens, which were shown to him by a highly intelligent person, a Mr. Atwood, who devoted himself to explaining to Mr. Peterkin all the details of methods in the farming.

The rest of the family were disturbed at being so far from the sea, when they found it would take nearly all the afternoon to reach the beach. The advertisements had surely stated that the “Old Farm” was directly on the shore, and that sea-bathing would be exceedingly convenient; which was hardly the case if it took you an hour and a half to walk to it.

Mr. Peterkin declared there were always such discrepancies between the advertisements of seaside places and the actual facts; but he was more than satisfied with the farm part, and was glad to remain and admire it, while the rest of the family went to find the beach, starting off in a wagon large enough to accommodate them, Agamemnon driving the one horse.

Solomon John had depended upon taking the photographs of the family in a row on the beach; but he decided not to take his camera out the first afternoon.

This was well, as the sun was already setting when they reached the beach.

“If this wagon were not so shaky,” said Mrs. Peterkin, “we might drive over every morning for our bath. The road is very straight, and I suppose Agamemnon can turn on the beach.”

“We should have to spend the whole day about it,” said Solomon John, in a discouraged tone, “unless we can have a quicker horse.”

“Perhaps we should prefer that,” said Elizabeth Eliza, a little gloomily, “to staying at the house.”

She had been a little disturbed to find there were not more elegant and fashionable-looking boarders at the farm, and she was disappointed that the Sylvesters had not arrived, who would understand the ways of the place. Yet, again, she was somewhat relieved, for if their trunks did not come till the next day, as was feared, she should have nothing but her travelling dress to wear, which would certainly answer for to-night.