In which Lizzie exerts an influence on the affairs of the rich and great
A year after Socrates Potter had told of the descent of Lizzie, and the successful beginning of her new life, I called again at his office.
“How is Pointview?” I asked.
“Did ye ever learn how it happened to be called Pointview?” he inquired.
“Well, it began with a little tavern with a tap-room called the Pointview House, a great many years ago. Travellers used to stop an’ look around for the Point, an’, of course, they couldn’t see it, for there’s none here; at least, no point of land. They’d go in an’ order drinks an’ say:
“‘Landlord, where’s the point?’
“An’ the landlord would say: ’Well, boys, if you ain’t in a hurry you’ll probably see it purty soon.’
“All at once it would appear to ’em, an’ it was apt to be an’ amusin’ bit o’ scenery.
“We’ve always been quick to see a point here, an’ anxious to show it to other people.”
He leaned back and laughed as one foot sought the top of his desk.
“Our balloons rise from every walk o’ life an’ come down out o’ ballast,” he went on. “Many of ’em touch ground in the great financial aviation park that surrounds Wall Street. In our stages of recovery the power of Lizzie has been widely felt.”
Up went his other foot. I saw that the historical mood was upon him.
“Talk about tryin’ to cross the Atlantic in an air-ship—why, that’s conservative,” he continued. “Right here in the eastern part o’ Connecticut lives a man who set out for the vicinity of the moon with a large company—a joint-stock company—in his life-boat. First he made the journey with the hot-air-ship of his mind, an’ came back with millions in the hold of his imagination. Then he thought he’d experiment with a corporation of his friends—his surplus friends. They got in on the ground floor, an’ got out in the sky. Most of ’em were thrown over for ballast. The Wellman of this enterprise escaped with his life an’ a little wreckage. He was Mr. Thomas Robinson Barrow, an’ he came to consult me about his affairs. They were in bad shape.
“‘Sell your big house an’ your motor-cars,’ I urged.
“‘That would have been easy,’ he answered, ’but Lizzie has spoilt the market for luxuries. You remember how she got high notions up at the Smythe school, an’ began a life of extravagance, an’ how we all tried to keep up with her, an’ how the rococo architecture broke out like pimples on the face of Connecticut?’
“I smiled an’ nodded.
“’Well, it was you, I hear, that helped her back to earth and started her in the simpleton life. Since then she has been going just as fast, but in the opposite direction, and we’re still tryin’ to keep up with her. Now I found a man who was going to buy my property, but suddenly his wife decided that they would get along with a more modest outfit. She’s trying to keep up with Lizzie. Folks are getting wise.’