“It is a matter of economy now; everybody’s going. The Fargo’s and the Fayerwerses, and the Hitherinyons have broken all up, and are going out to stay indefinitely. The Fayerwerses have been saving up these four years to get away, there are so many of them, you know; the passage money counts, and the first travelling; but after you are over, and have found a place to settle down in,”—then followed all the usual assertions as to cheap delights and inestimable advantages, and emancipation from all American household ills and miseries.
Uncle Oldways came up once in a while to the house in Shubarton Place, and made an evening call. He seemed to take apricot-color for granted, when he got there, as much as he did the plain, old, unrelieved brown at Mrs. Ripwinkley’s; he sat quite unconcernedly in the grand easy chair that Laura wheeled out for him; indeed, it seemed as if he really, after a manner, indorsed everything by his acceptance without demur of what he found. But then one must sit down on something; and if one is offered a cup of coffee, or anything on a plate, one cannot easily protest against sea-green china. We do, and we have, and we wear, and we say, a great many things, and feel ourselves countenanced and confirmed, somehow,—perhaps excused,—because nobody appears surprised or says anything. But what should they say; and would it be at all proper that they should be surprised? If we only thought of it, and once tried it, we might perhaps find it quite as easy and encouraging, on the same principle, not to have apricot rep and sea-green china.
One night Mr. Oldways was with them when the talk turned eastwardly over the water. There were new names in the paper, of people who had gone out in the Aleppo, and a list of Americans registered at Bowles Brothers,’ among whom were old acquaintance.
“I declare, how they all keep turning up there” said Mrs. Ledwith.
“The war doesn’t seem to make much difference,” said her husband.
“To think how lucky the Vonderbargens were, to be in Paris just at the edge of the siege!” said Glossy Megilp. “They came back from Como just in time; and poor Mr. Washburne had to fairly hustle them off at last. They were buying silks, and ribbons, and gloves, up to the last minute, for absolutely nothing. Mrs. Vonderbargen said it seemed a sin to come away and leave anything. I’m sure I don’t know how they got them all home; but they did.”
Glossy had been staying lately with the Vonderbargens in New York. She stayed everywhere, and picked up everything.
“You have been abroad, Mrs. Scherman?” said Mrs. Ledwith, inquiringly, to Asenath, who happened to be calling, also, with her husband, and was looking at some photographs with Desire.
“No, ma’am,” answered Mrs. Scherman, very promptly, not having spoken at all before in the discussion. “I do not think I wish to go. The syphon has been working too long.”