Tales of Naples
Alice Stoddard Bishop and Beth Bishop Flory
My family came to Naples in 1832. Every generation has enjoyed passing along stories of local characters and events. When they reached my mother, Alice Stoddard Bishop (1890 - 1974), she wrote them down. Here are two, with only the slightest bit of editing by her daughter.
The Broken Pitcher
Ben was famous in these parts for his homemade cider, be it newly made or well aged. One evening when the new minister and his wife had come to call, Ben's wife suggested that he go down cellar and draw off some of the fresh brew. Thinking to impress the visitors, she took from the top shelf of the pantry her choicest, most beautiful pitcher.
With this in hand, Ben started down the stairs, unaware that the cat was asleep across the top step. Amid great racket, Ben and Tommy landed on the cellar floor.
His wife rushed to the top of the stairs, and hearing nothing, called, "Ben Lacy, did you smash my best pitcher?"
After a second of silence came the sound of breaking pottery and his answering roar: "No, but By God I will."
Father and Edgar Haynes
One morning years ago, Father stopped in the Haynes store, a combination grocery-pharmaceutical-supplies-and-school-books emporium, the only place in the village where books of any kind were sold.
A brush salesman was about to leave and was replacing samples in his case. Father returned Edgar's greeting and then added, "Edgar, you sold me a shaving brush two years ago. Remember?" Edgar agreed, wondering what was coming next.
"Well," Father went on, "This morning one of the hairs came out of that brush. You guaranteed it and I paid you a good price, and I think you should make it right."
With that he left the store, delighted that he had put Edgar on the spot, for it was a rare day that one could get the better of Edgar Haynes.
The departing salesman paused at the door to say, "That fellow who was just in here must be very penurious."
"Oh, yes" said Edgar, "So he is. That's right. So he is. Good day." Closing the door he headed for the books with his eye on the one marked "Dictionary."
He and Father had many a good laugh at the expression on the face of the salesman during their conversation, but Edgar hoped Father would never know how wholeheartedly he had agreed that Father was "frugal to excess and stingy."