“‘I wanted ye to tell Mr. Potter about yer travels,’ says Sam.
[Illustration: “I wanted ye to tell Mr. Potter about yer travels.” says Sam.]
“Lizzie smiled an’ looked out o’ the window a minute an’ fetched a sigh an’ struck out, lookin’ like Deacon Bristow the day he give ten dollars to the church. She told about the cities an’ the folks an’ the weather in that queer, English way she had o’ talking’>
“‘Tell how ye hobnobbed with the Queen o’ Italy,’ Sam says.
“‘Oh, father! Hobnobbed!’ says she. ’Anybody would think that she and I had manicured each other’s hands. She only spoke a few words of Italian and looked very gracious an’ beautiful an’ complimented my color.’
“Then she lay back in her chair, kind o’ weary, an’ Sam asked me how was business—just to fill in the gap, I guess. Liz woke up an’ showed how far she’d got ahead in the race.
“‘Business!’ says she, with animation. ’That’s why I haven’t any patience with American men. They never sit down for ten minutes without talking business. Their souls are steeped in commercialism. Don’t you see how absurd it is, father? There are plenty of lovely things to talk about.’
“Sam looked guilty, an’ I felt sorry for him. It had cost heavy to educate his girl up to a p’int where she could give him so much advice an’ information. The result was natural. She was irritated by the large cubic capacity—the length, breadth, and thickness of his ignorance and unrefinement; he was dazed by the length, breadth, an’ thickness of her learning an’ her charm. He didn’t say a word. He bowed his head before this pretty, perfumed casket of erudition.
“‘You like Europe,’ I says.
“‘I love it,’ says she, ’It’s the only place to live. There one finds so much of the beautiful in art and music and so many cultivated people.’
“Lizzie was a handsome girl, an’ had more sense than any o’ the others that tried to keep up with her. After all, she was Sam’s fault, an’ Sam was a sin conceived an’ committed by his wife, as ye might say. She had made him what he was.
“‘Have you seen Dan Pettigrew lately?’ Lizzie asked.
“‘Yes.’ I says. ‘Dan is goin’ to be a farmer.’
“‘A farmer!” says she, an’ covered her face with her handkerchief an’ shook with merriment.
“‘Yes,’ I says. ‘Dan has come down out o’ the air. He’s abandoned folly. He wants to do something to help along.’
“‘Yes, of course,’ says Lizzie, in a lofty manner. ’Dan is really an excellent boy—isn’t he?’
“‘Yes, an’ he’s livin’ within his means—that’s the first mile-stone in the road to success,’ I says. ‘I’m goin’ to buy him a thousand acres o’ land, an’ one o’ these days he’ll own it an’ as much more. You wait. He’ll have a hundred men in his employ, an’ flocks an’ herds an’ a market of his own in New York. He’ll control prices in this county, an’ they’re goin’ down. He’ll be a force in the State.’