“When he left I knew that I’d won my case. In a week or so he sent me a letter saying that he’d decided to take my advice.
“He came to see me often after that. The first we knew he was goin’ with Marie Benson. Marie had a reputation for good sense, but right away she began to take after Lizzie, an’ struck a tolerably good pace. Went to New York to study music an’ perfect herself in French.
“I declare it seemed as if about every girl in the village was tryin’ to be a kind of a princess with a full-jewelled brain. Girls who didn’t know an adjective from an adverb an’ would have been stuck by a simple sum in algebra could converse in French an’ sing in Italian. Not one in ten was willin’, if she knew how, to sweep a floor or cook a square meal. Their souls were above it. Their feet were in Pointview an’ their heads in Dreamland. They talked o’ the doin’s o’ the Four Hundred an’ the successes o’ Lizzie. They trilled an’ warbled; they pounded the family piano; they golfed an’ motored an’ whisted; they engaged in the titivation of toy dogs an’ the cultivation o’ general debility; they ate caramels an’ chocolates enough to fill up a well; they complained; they dreamed o’ sunbursts an’ tiaras while their papas worried about notes an’ bills; they lay on downy beds of ease with the last best seller, an’ followed the fortunes of the bold youth until he found his treasure at last in the unhidden chest of the heroine; they created what we are pleased to call the servant problem, which is really the drone problem, caused by the added number who toil not, but have to be toiled for; they grew in fat an’ folly. Some were both ox-eyed an’ peroxide. Homeliness was to them the only misfortune, fat the only burden, and pimples the great enemy of woman.
“Now the organs of the human body are just as shiftless as the one that owns ’em. The systems o’ these fair ladies couldn’t do their own work. The physician an’ the surgeon were added to the list o’ their servants, an’ became as necessary as the cook an’ the chambermaid. But they were keeping up with Lizzie. Poor things! They weren’t so much to blame. They thought their fathers were rich, an’ their fathers enjoyed an’ clung to that reputation. They hid their poverty an’ flaunted the flag of opulence.
“It costs money, big money an’ more, to produce a generation of invalids. The fathers o’ Pointview had paid for it with sweat an’ toil an’ broken health an’ borrowed money an’ the usual tax added to the price o’ their goods or their labor. Then one night the cashier o’ the First National Bank blew out his brains. We found that he had stolen eighteen thousand dollars in the effort to keep up. That was a lesson to the Lizzie-chasers! Why, sir, we found that each of his older girls had diamond rings an’ could sing in three languages, an’ a boy was in college. Poor man! he didn’t steal for his own pleasure. Everything went at auction—house, grounds, rings, automobile.