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CHAPTER VII A Present from Uncle Isaac
 THE unexpected certainly happened to Johnny Blossom that day. He had just swung round on the road leading toward Kingthorpe, with no thought of going the whole way, for Uncle Isaac was ill and had gone to a sanitarium, and there wasn’t the least bit of fun to be had just in Kingthorpe itself with all its . So early in the summer as this there were no ripe berries in the garden; and he must not go into the stables, for Carlstrom the coachman was a regular crosspatch.  
“Be off with yourself, boy!” he would always say if Johnny Blossom but put his nose in at the stable door.
Carlstrom was a Swede, with a big black moustache whose ends stuck straight out in the air. He looked exactly like a colonel to say the least—a very cross colonel though! No, there was no use going to the stable.
The cow-barn was under the rule of a Swiss who was almost as cross as Carlstrom. He always said that the cows ought to be sleeping; so Johnny Blossom got the idea that the cows at Kingthorpe never did anything but lie and sleep.
Inside the big fine house there couldn’t be any fun either. Only those stately halls and magnificent rooms, one after another, with handsome furniture upholstered in silk damask, with great gold-framed mirrors, but with the shades always down. The rooms were so immense that every footstep echoed in them. And oh! how careful one had to be for the sake of that china that Uncle Isaac had collected so much of. In the cabinets it was no trouble, but when it stood on tiny little tables, Johnny Blossom did not like it at all. He scarcely dared to breathe when he went anywhere near the tables lest he should knock something off. Uncle Isaac had once shown him all the china and explained how old and rare and precious it was.
“This cup Marie Antoinette drank from, and this vase belonged to the Bonapartes. This flagon is from an English royal palace of the sixteenth century.”
Johnny Blossom stood and stared. For his part he would rather have his own mug at home with “For a Good Boy” upon it than all these fine antiques that so many old mouths had drunk from!
Poor Uncle Isaac! He was sick now again—worse, in fact. He had heart disease, Mother said. Jeremias the wood-cutter also talked of a pain in his heart, but since he had begun to rub himself all over with , he had become much better. It smelled dreadfully in Jeremias’s little hut, but he was better. Johnny Blossom would certainly write to Uncle Isaac and tell him that all he had to do to cure himself of the pain was to rub himself with kerosene.
To this point in his had Johnny Blossom come just as he reached the telephone pole whence he could see the big entrance gates to Kingthorpe Park; and there was the handsome new carriage rolling out through the gates that very moment! Carlstrom sat on the box. My! How stylish he looked today! His moustache ends stood out in the air more stiffly than usual, and he never once glanced at Johnny Blossom below in the dusty road. Back in the carriage sat Miss Melling, Uncle Isaac’s , with a white feather in her hat waving up and down. At her side lay a queer package of many yellow sticks tied together. What in the world could that be?
Johnny Blossom took off his hat and bowed. Carlstrom looked straight ahead; but when Miss Melling caught sight of Johnny, there was a great to-do.
“Why, there he is! Stop, Carlstrom, stop! Johnny Blossom! Johnny Blossom!” she called, twisting herself round in the carriage. “You are just the person I was going to town to see,” she continued. “I had a letter from your Uncle Isaac saying that you were to have this fishing rod at once.”
Johnny Blossom looked very small standing in the road beside the big carriage. The crown and brim of his hat widely apart on one side, and out of the opening stuck a lock of dark brown hair. His blue and white striped blouse had a daub of pitch in the middle of the front; and since Johnny Blossom knew it was there, he held a little brown hand over it, while he gazed up at the double chin of the Miss Melling.
“See here! Why shouldn’t you take it right now? To tell the truth, I can’t imagine what a little boy like you should be doing with such a handsome fishing rod as this. I won’t say how much it cost—it was very expensive, you may be sure. Well, perhaps you had better ride with us back to town again, although you are so dirty, you are scarcely fit for the carriage.”
Johnny Blossom looked up wistfully but . Probably he was too dirty.
“Oh, well! you may get in,” said Miss Melling, not ungraciously.
Seldom, indeed, did he have the honor of riding in the Kingthorpe carriage, because Carlstrom and Miss Melling were both so , and poor Uncle Isaac never went to drive. As they rode along Miss Melling showed Johnny how to put the rod together. My, oh, my! How amazingly long it was! Johnny stood it up like a flagstaff and his face was radiant.
“Has Uncle Isaac trouble with his heart?” asked Johnny, thinking he would tell about the kerosene cure.
“Rich people have trouble everywhere,” said Miss Melling . “Sit still or you’ll fall out of the carriage.”
Johnny Blossom sat as still as a stone for about two minutes; but then they drove past a great linden tree and he absolutely had to stand up to see how near the top of the tree he could reach with his fishpole.
“Dear, dear!” said Miss Melling. “I think you had better get out before we have an accident.”
The carriage was stopped and Johnny Blossom with his long fishing rod was helped out unceremoniously.
“Thank you for the drive and for the rod,” said he, bowing.
Then Johnny Blossom sprang into a run and dashed homeward. My, oh, my! How astonished the family would be over such a magnificent fishing rod!
The moment he arrived, the whole household was called on to admire it—Father, Mother, three sisters, and the maids—but no one must touch it or even go ............
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