“But we have other things that you can’t get in the city,” broke in Marian.
“And I am very sure that they will be enthusiastically enumerated when it is your turn to speak,” said Mr. Fairfield, smiling.
“The gentleman has the floor,” remarked Patty, “the others will please keep their seats. Proceed, Mr. Fairfield.”
So Mr. Fairfield proceeded:
“Other advantages, perhaps, will be found in the superior schools which the city is said to contain. I am making no allusion to the school that our honourable judge is at present attending, but I am speaking merely on general principles. And not only schools, but masters of the various arts. I have been led to believe by the assertions of some people, who, however, may be prejudiced, that Miss Fairfield has a voice which requires only training and practise to rival the voice of Adelina Patti, when that lady was Miss Fairfield’s age.”
“Quite true,” said the judge, nodding gravely at the speaker.
“This phenomenal voice, then, might—mind; I say might—be cultivated to better purpose by metropolitan teachers.”
“We have a fine singing-master here,” exclaimed Frank, but Patty rapped him to silence.
“What’s one singing-master among a voice like Miss Fairfield’s?” demanded the speaker, “and another thing,” he continued, “that ought to affect you Vernondale people very strongly, is the fact that you would have a delightful place to visit in New York City. Now, don’t deny it. You know you’d be glad to come and visit Patty and me in our brown-stone mansion, and we would take you around to see all the sights, from Grant’s tomb to the Aquarium.”
“We’ve seen those,” murmured Frank.
“They’re still there,” said Mr. Fairfield, “and there will probably be some other and newer entertainments that you haven’t yet seen.”
“It does sound nice,” said Frank.
“And finally,” went on Mr. Fairfield, “though I do not wish this argument to have undue weight, it certainly would be more convenient for me to live in the city. I am about to start in business there, and though I could go in and out every day, as the honourable gentleman on the other side of the table does, yet he is accustomed to it, and, as I am not, it seems to me an uninteresting performance. However, I dare say I could get used to a commutation ticket, and I am certainly willing to try. All of which is respectfully submitted,” and with a bow the speaker resumed his seat.
“That was a very nice speech,” said the judge approvingly, “and now we would be pleased to hear from the captain gentleman on the other side.”
Uncle Charley rose.