The old man took his religion with the bristles on, and he wouldn’t stand for any Sunday work in his house. Told Tempy to cook enough for two days on Saturday and to serve three cold meals on Sunday.
Tempy sniffed a little, but she’d been raised well and didn’t talk back. That first Sunday Doc got his cold breakfast all right, but before he’d fairly laid into it Tempy trotted out a cup of hot coffee. That made the old man rage at first, but finally he allowed that, seeing it was made, there was no special harm in taking a sup or two, but not to let it occur again. A few minutes later he called back to Tempy in the kitchen and asked her if she’d been sinful enough to make two cups.
Doc’s dinner was ready for him when he got back from church, and it was real food—that is to say, hot food, a-sizzling and a-smoking from the stove. Tempy told around afterward that the way the old man went for her about it made her feel mighty proud and set-up over her new master. But she just stood there dripping perspiration and good nature until the Doc had wound up by allowing that there was only one part of the hereafter where meals were cooked on Sunday, and that she’d surely get a mention on the bill of fare there as dark meat, well done, if she didn’t repent, and then she blurted out:
“Law, chile, you go ’long and ‘tend to yo’ preaching and I’ll ’tend to my cookin’; yo’ can’t fight the debbil with snow-balls.” And what’s more, the Doc didn’t, not while Aunt Tempy was living.
There isn’t any moral to this, but there’s a hint in it to mind your own business at home as well as at the office. I sail to-morrow. I’m feeling in mighty good spirits, and I hope I’m not going to find anything at your end of the line to give me a relapse.
Your affectionate father,
From John Graham, at the Waldorf-Astoria, New York, to his son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards, Chicago. The young man has hinted vaguely of a quarrel between himself and Helen Heath, who is in New York with her mother, and has suggested that the old man act as peacemaker.
NEW YORK, December 8, 189-.
Dear Pierrepont: I’ve been afraid all along that you were going to spoil the only really sensible thing you’ve ever done by making some fool break, so as soon as I got your letter I started right out to trail down Helen and her ma. I found them hived up here in the hotel, and Miss Helen was so sweet to your poor old pa that I saw right off she had a stick cut for his son. Of course, I didn’t let on that I knew anything about a quarrel, but I gradually steered the conversation around to you, and while I don’t want to hurt your feelings, I am violating no confidence when I tell you that the mention of your name aroused about the same sort of enthusiasm that Bill Bryan’s does in Wall Street—only Helen is a lady and so she couldn’t cuss. But it wasn’t the language of flowers that I saw in her eyes. So I told her that she must make allowances for you, as you were only a half-baked boy, and that, naturally, if she stuck a hat-pin into your crust she was going to strike a raw streak here and there.