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The Peterkins’ Picnic
by [?]

There was some doubt about the weather. Solomon John looked at the “Probabilities”; there were to be “areas of rain” in the New England States.

Agamemnon thought if they could only know where the areas of rain were to be they might go to the others. Mr. Peterkin proposed walking round the house in a procession, to examine the sky. As they returned they met Ann Maria Bromwick, who was to go, much surprised not to find them ready.

Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin were to go in the carryall, and take up the lady from Philadelphia, and Ann Maria, with the rest, was to follow in a wagon, and to stop for the daughters of the lady from Philadelphia. The wagon arrived, and so Mr. Peterkin had the horse put into the carryall.

A basket had been kept on the back piazza for some days, where anybody could put anything that would be needed for the picnic as soon as it was thought of. Agamemnon had already decided to take a thermometer; somebody was always complaining of being too hot or too cold at a picnic, and it would be a great convenience to see if she really were so. He thought now he might take a barometer, as “Probabilities” was so uncertain. Then, if it went down in a threatening way, they could all come back.

The little boys had tied their kites to the basket. They had never tried them at home; it might be a good chance on the hills. Solomon John had put in some fishing-poles; Elizabeth Eliza, a book of poetry. Mr. Peterkin did not like sitting on the ground, and proposed taking two chairs, one for himself and one for anybody else. The little boys were perfectly happy; they jumped in and out of the wagon a dozen times, with new india-rubber boots, bought for the occasion.

Before they started, Mrs. Peterkin began to think she had already had enough of the picnic, what with going and coming, and trying to remember things. So many mistakes were made. The things that were to go in the wagon were put in the carryall, and the things in the carryall had to be taken out for the wagon! Elizabeth Eliza forgot her water-proof, and had to go back for her veil, and Mr. Peterkin came near forgetting his umbrella.

Mrs. Peterkin sat on the piazza and tried to think. She felt as if she must have forgotten something; she knew she must. Why could not she think of it now, before it was too late? It seems hard any day to think what to have for dinner, but how much easier now it would be to stay at home quietly and order the dinner,–and there was the butcher’s cart! But now they must think of everything.

At last she was put into the carryall, and Mr. Peterkin in front to drive. Twice they started, and twice they found something was left behind,–the loaf of fresh brown bread on the back piazza, and a basket of sandwiches on the front porch. And, just as the wagon was leaving, the little boys shrieked, “The basket of things was left behind!”

Everybody got out of the wagon. Agamemnon went back into the house, to see if anything else were left. He looked into the closets; he shut the front door, and was so busy that he forgot to get into the wagon himself. It started off and went down the street without him!

He was wondering what he should do if he were left behind (why had they not thought to arrange a telegraph wire to the back wheel of the wagon, so that he might have sent a message in such a case!), when the Bromwicks drove out of their yard, in their buggy, and took him in.

They joined the rest of the party at Tatham Corners, where they were all to meet and consult where they were to go. Mrs. Peterkin called to Agamemnon, as soon as he appeared. She had been holding the barometer and the thermometer, and they waggled so that it troubled her. It was hard keeping the thermometer out of the sun, which would make it so warm. It really took away her pleasure, holding the things. Agamemnon decided to get into the carryall, on the seat with his father, and take the barometer and thermometer.