She followed up her system, too, and in the end it got so that women would waste good gossip before they’d go to her with it. For if the pastor’s wife would tell her “as a true friend” that the report that she had gone to the theatre in St. Louis was causing a scandal, she’d thank her for being so sweetly thoughtful, and ask if nothing was sacred enough to be spared by the tongue of slander, though she, for one, didn’t believe that there was anything in the malicious talk that the Doc was cribbing those powerful Sunday evening discourses from a volume of Beecher’s sermons. And when they’d press her for the name of her informant, she’d say: “No, it was a lie; she knew it was a lie, and no one who sat under the dear pastor would believe it; and they mustn’t dignify it by noticing it.” As a matter of fact, no one who sat under Doc Pottle would have believed it, for his sermons weren’t good enough to have been cribbed; and if Beecher could have heard one of them he would have excommunicated him.
Buck’s wife knew how to show goods. When Buck himself had used up all the cuss-words in Missouri on his conduct, she had sense enough to know that his stock of trouble was full, and that if she wanted to get a hold on him she mustn’t show him stripes, but something in cheerful checks. Yet when the trouble-hunters looked her up, she had a full line of samples of their favorite commodity to show them.
I simply mention these things in a general way. Seeing would naturally be believing, if cross-eyed people were the only ones who saw crooked, and hearing will be believing when deaf people are the only ones who don’t hear straight. It’s a pretty safe rule, when you hear a heavy yarn about any one, to allow a fair amount for tare, and then to verify your weights.
Your affectionate father,
P.S.—I think you’d better look in at a few of the branch houses on your way home and see if you can’t make expenses.
From John Graham, at the Union Stock Yards, Chicago, to his son, Pierrepont, care of Graham & Company’s brokers, Atlanta. Following the old man’s suggestion, the young man has rounded out the honeymoon into a harvest moon, and is sending in some very satisfactory orders to the house.
CHICAGO, February 1, 189-.
Dear Pierrepont: Judging from the way the orders are coming in, I reckon that you must be lavishing a little of your surplus ardor on the trade. So long as you are in such good practise, and can look a customer in the eye and make him believe that he’s the only buyer you ever really loved, you’d better not hurry home too fast. I reckon Helen won’t miss you for a few hours every day, but even if she should it’s a mighty nice thing to be missed, and she’s right there where you can tell her every night that you love her just the same; while the only way in which you can express your unchanged affection for the house is by sending us lots of orders. If you do that you needn’t bother to write and send us lots of love.