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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 63 pages of information about A Kentucky Cardinal.

This morning as I was accidentally passing under her window I saw her at it and lifted my hat.  She leaned over with her cheek in her palm, and said, smiling,

“You mustn’t spoil Sylvia!”

“What is my definite offence in that regard?”

“Too much arbor, too many flowers, too much fine treatment.”

“Does fine treatment ever harm anybody?  Is it not bad treatment that spoils people?”

“Good treatment may never spoil people who are old enough to know its rarity and value.  But you say you are a student of nature; have you not observed that nature never lets the sugar get to things until they are ripe?  Children must be kept tart.”

“The next time that Miss Sylvia comes over, then, I am to give her a tremendous scolding and a big basket of green apples.”

“Or, what is worse, suppose you encourage her to study the Greatest Common Divisor?  I am trying to get her ready for school in the fall.”

“Is she being educated for a teacher?”

“You know that Southern ladies never teach.”

“Then she will never need the Greatest Common Divisor.  I have known many thousands of human beings, and none but teachers ever have the least use for the Greatest Common Divisor.”

“But she needs to do things that she dislikes.  We all do.”

I smiled at the memory of a self-willed little bare foot on a log years ago.

“I shall see that my grape arbor does not further interfere with Miss Sylvia’s progress towards perfection.”

“Why didn’t you wish us to be your neighbors?”

“I didn’t know that you were the right sort of people.”

Are we the right sort?”

“The value of my land has almost been doubled.”

It is a pleasure to know that you approve of us on those grounds.  Will the value of our land rise also, do you think?  And why do you suppose we objected to you as a neighbor?”

“I cannot imagine.”

“The imagination can be cultivated, you know.  Then tell me this:  why do Kentuckians in this part of Kentucky think so much of themselves compared with the rest of the world?”

“Perhaps it’s because they are Virginians.  There may be various reasons.”

“Do the people ever tell what the reasons are?”

“I have never heard one.”

“And if we stayed here long enough, and imitated them very closely, do you suppose we would get to feel the same way?”

“I am sure of it.”

“It must be so pleasant to consider Kentucky the best part of the world, and your part of Kentucky the best of the State, and your family the best of all the best families in that best part, and yourself the best member of your family.  Ought not that to make one perfectly happy?”

“I have often observed that it seems to do so.”

“It is delightful to remember that you approve of us.  And we should feel so glad to be able to return the compliment.  Good-bye!”

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