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LUCRETIA P. HALE.
MODERN IMPROVEMENTS AT THE PETERKINS'.
GAMEMNON felt that it became neces
sary for him to choose a profession. It was important on account of the little boys. If he should make a trial of several different professions, he could find out which would be the most likely to be successful, and it would then be easy to bring up the little boys in the right direction.
Elizabeth Eliza agreed with this. She thought the family occasionally made mistakes, and had come near disgracing themselves. Now was their chance to avoid this in future, by giving the little boys a proper education. Solomon John was almost determined to be
a doctor. From earliest childhood he had practised writing recipes on little slips of paper. Mrs. Peterkin, to be sure, was afraid of infection. She could not bear the idea of his 1 See Biographical Sketch, p. xxv.
bringing one disease after the other into the family circle. Solomon John, too, did not like sick people. He thought he might manage it, if he should not have to see his patients while they were sick. If he could only visit them when they were recovering, and when the danger of infection was over, he would really enjoy making calls.
He should have a comfortable doctor's chaise, and take one of the little boys to hold his horse while he went in, and he thought he could get through the conversational part very well, and feeling the pulse, perhaps looking at the tongue. He should take and read all the newspapers, and so be thoroughly acquainted with the news of the day to talk of. But he should not like to be waked up at night to visit. Mr. Peterkin thought that would not be necessary. He had seen signs on doors of
Night Doctor,” and certainly it would be as convenient to have a sign of “ Not a Night Doctor.”
Solomon John thought he might write his advice to those of his patients who were dangerously ill, from whom there was danger of infection. And then Elizabeth Eliza agreed that his prescriptions would probably be so satisfac
tory that they would keep his patients well, not too well to do without a doctor, but needing his recipes.
Agamemnon was delayed, however, in his choice of a profession by a desire he had to become a famous inventor. If he could only invent something important, and get out a patent, he would make himself known all over the country. If he could get out a patent, he would be set up for life, or at least as long as the patent lasted, and it would be well to be sure to arrange it to last through his natural life.
Indeed, he had gone so far as to make his invention. It had been suggested by their trouble with a key, in their late moving to their new house.
He had studied the matter over a great deal. He looked it up in the Encyclopædia, and had spent a day or two in the Public Library, in reading about Chubb's Lock, and other patent locks.
But his plan was more simple. It was this: that all keys should be made alike! He wondered it had not been thought of before, but so it was, Solomon John said, with all inventions, with Christopher Columbus, and everybody. Nobody knew the invention till it was invented, and then it looked very simple. With Agamemnon's plan, you need have but one key, that should fit every thing! It should be a mediumsized key, not too large to carry. It ought to answer for a house door, but you might open a portmanteau with it. How much less danger there would be of losing one's keys, if there were only one to lose !
· Mrs. Peterkin thought it would be inconvenient if their father were out, and she wanted to open the jam-closet for the little boys. But Agamemnon explained that he did not mean there should be but one key in the family, or in a town,--you might have as many as you pleased,-only they should all be alike.
Elizabeth Eliza felt it would be a great convenience-they could keep the front door always locked, yet she could open it with the key of her upper drawer; that she was sure to have with her. And Mrs. Peterkin felt it might be a convenience if they had one on each story, so that they need not go up and down for it.
Mr. Peterkin studied all the papers and ad. vertisements, to decide about the lawyer whom they should consult, and at last, one morning, they went into town to visit a patent-agent.
Elizabeth Eliza took the occasion to make a
call upon the lady from Philadelphia, but she came back hurriedly to her mother.
“I have had a delightful call," she said, “but perhaps I was wrong, I could not help, in conversation, speaking of Agamemnon's proposed patent. I ought not to have mentioned it, as such things are kept profound secrets; they say women always do tell things, I suppose that is the reason.”
But where is the harm?” asked Mrs. Peterkin. “I'm sure you can trust the lady from Philadelphia !”
Elizabeth Eliza then explained that the lady from Philadelphia had questioned the plan a little, when it was told her, and had suggested that “if every body had the same key there would be no particular use in a lock."
“Did you explain to her," said Mrs. Peterkin, “that we were not all to have the same keys?”
“I could n't quite understand her," said Elizabeth Eliza, “but she seemed to think that burglars and other people might come in, if the keys were the same."
Agamemnon would not sell his patent to burglars !” said Mrs. Peterkin, indignantly.
“But about other people,"said Elizabeth Eliza,