A Picnic part 2
“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.
“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.
“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”
“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eighty cents won’t make us rich. We shall get on just the same whether we have them or not. We must live like human beings one day in the year! Come, Sarah, let us go! We shall see lots of other people, and we’ll watch them, and see how they enjoy themselves. It will do you good to see the world, to go where there’s a bit of life! Listen, Sarah, what have you been to worth seeing since we came to America? Have you seen Brooklyn Bridge, or Central Park, or the Baron Hirsch baths?”
“You know I haven’t!” Sarah broke in. “I’ve no time to go about sight-seeing. I only know the way from here to the market.”
“And what do you suppose?” cried Shmuel. “I should be as great a greenhorn as you, if I hadn’t been obliged to look everywhere for work. Now I know that America is a great big place. Thanks to the slack times, I know where there’s an Eighth Street, and a One Hundred and Thirtieth Street with tin works, and an Eighty-fourth Street with a match factory. I know every single lane round the World Building.
I know where the cable car line stops. But you, Sarah, know nothing at all, no more than if you had just landed. Let us go, Sarah, I am sure you won’t regret it!”
“Well, you know best!” said his wife, and this time she smiled. “Let us go!”
And thus it was that Shmuel and his wife decided to join the lodge picnic on the following day.
Next morning they all rose much earlier than usual on a Sunday, and there was a great noise, for they took the children and scrubbed them without mercy. Sarah prepared a bath forDoletzke, and Doletzke screamed the house down. Shmuel started washing Yossele’s feet, but as Yossele habitually went barefoot, he failed to bring about any visible improvement, and had to leave the little pair of feet to soak in a basin of warm water, and Yossele cried, too.
It was twelve o’clock before the children were dressed and ready to start, and then Sarah turned her attention to her husband, arranged his trousers, took the spots out of his coat with kerosene, sewed a button onto his vest. After that she dressed herself, in her old-fashioned satin wedding dress. At two o’clock they set forth, and took their places in the car.
“Haven’t we forgotten anything?” asked Sarah of her husband.