IN WHICH THE PURSUIT OF LIZZIE BECOMES HIGHLY SERIOUS
Dan had been out of town, an’ immediately on his return he came to my office.
“‘How’s business?’ I asked.
“‘Well, the ham war was a little hard on us, but we’re picking up,’ says he. ’They’re still selling hams way below a decent price over at Henshaw’s. I don’t see how they can do it.’
“‘I do,’ I says.
“’Please explain,” says Dan.
“‘Don’t you know that Lizzie was buyin’ most o’ those hams that you sold way below the wholesale price, an’ that she’s now makin’ a good profit on ’em?’ I says.
“‘Great Scott!’ Dan exclaimed, as he sank in a chair.
“’The fact is, Dan, the only way to keep up with that girl is to marry her,’ says I. ’Get busy. If you don’t somebody else will. Put a mortgage on her an’ foreclose it as soon as possible. As a floatin’ asset Lizzie is dangerous.’
“Dan picked up his hat an’ started for the door.
“’Tell her she must do business or you’ll cut the price of Pettigrews,’ I suggested.
“‘Good idea!’ he answered, as he went away.
“Meanwhile Mr. an’ Mrs. Bill Warburton were hot on the trail of Lizzie.
“Bill came to me one day an’ said: ’Those babies have solved the problem; my wife is happy and in excellent health. She sleeps an’ eats as well as ever, an’ her face has a new look—you have observed it?’
“‘Certainly, Bill, an’ you’re goin’ to hear some rather chesty an’ superior talk. I saw what was the matter long ago—she was motor-sick, an’ tiara-sick, an’ dog-sick, an’ horse-sick. She was sick of idleness an’ rich food an’ adulation. She has discovered that there are only three real luxuries—work, children, motherhood—that to shirk responsibility is to forfeit happiness. I have been a little disappointed in you, Bill. Your father was a minister; he had the love of men in his soul. You seem to have taken to dogs an’ horses with an affection almost brotherly. I don’t blame you so much. When men get rich they naturally achieve a passion for the things that money will buy. They think they’ve got to improve the breed o’ dogs an’ horses, an’ they’re apt to forget the breed o’ men. You’ve been pursuin’ Happiness with dogs, horses, an’ motor-cars. You never can catch her in that way—never. Don’t you remember, Bill, that in the old days we didn’t pursue Happiness? Why, Happiness pursued us an’ generally caught us. Some days she didn’t succeed until we were all tired out, an’ then she led us away into the wonderful land o’ dreams, an’ it was like heaven. You never get Happiness by pursuin’ her—that’s one dead sure thing. Happiness is never captured. She comes unbidden or not at all. She travels only in one path, an’ you haven’t found it. Bill, we’ve strayed a little. Let’s try to locate the trail o’ Happiness. I believe we’re gettin’ near it.