Mr. Spear had aspirations toward an apple-pie and had made violent efforts in that direction, but the product being dough on top and charcoal on the bottom we declined the nomination with thanks.
June suggested that pies should be baked in an oven and not cooked on a pancake griddle. The custodian thought there might be something in it—a suggestion he would have scorned and scouted had it come from me.
To change the rather painful subject, Mr. Spear began to talk about John and Abigail Adams, and to quote from their “Letters,” a volume he seems to have by heart.
“Do you know why their love was so very steadfast, and why they stimulated the mental and spiritual natures of each other so?” asked June.
“No, why was it?”
“Well, I’ll tell you: it was because they spent one-third of their married life apart.”
“Yes, and in this way they lived in an ideal world. In all their letters you see they are always counting the days ere they will meet. Now, people who are together all the time never write that way, because they do not feel that way—I’ll leave it to Mr. Spear!”
But Mr. Spear, being a bachelor, did not know. Then the case was referred to Sammy, and Sammy lied and said he had never considered the subject.
“And would you advise, then, that married couples live apart one-third of the time, in the interests of domestic peace?” I asked.
“Certainly!” said June, with her Burne-Jones chin in the air. “Certainly; but I fear you are the man who does not understand; and anyway I am sure it will be much more profitable for us to cultivate the receptive spirit and listen to Mr. Spear—such opportunities do not come very often. I did not mean to interrupt you, Mr. Spear; go on, please!”
And Mr. Spear filled a clay pipe with natural leaf that he crumbled in his hand, and deftly picking a coal from the fireplace with a shovel one hundred fifty years old, puffed five times silently, and began to talk.
The objects to be attained are: To justify and preserve the confidence of the most enlightened friends of good government; to promote the increasing respectability of the American name; to answer the calls of justice; to restore landed property to its due value; to furnish new sources both to agriculture and to commerce; to cement more closely the union of the States; to add to their security against foreign attack; to establish public order on the basis of an upright and liberal policy: these are the great and invaluable ends to be secured by a proper and adequate provision, at the present period, for the support of public credit. —Report to Congress
[Illustration: Alexander Hamilton]
We do not know the name of the mother of Alexander Hamilton: we do not know the given name of his father. But from letters, a diary and pieced-out reports, allowing fancy to bridge from fact to fact, we get a patchwork history of the events preceding the birth of this wonderful man.