Even ex-comrade Lon Price would now shut his office at four o’clock every day and go up on the hill and outdoor a bit, instead of getting away from it all in a smoky Bohemian way. Besides he’d had a difference of opinion with Vernabelle about the poster she was doing for him, the same being more like an advertisement for some good bath soap, he said, than for choice villa sites.
“I don’t know anything about art,” says Lon, “but I know what my wife likes.” Which left Vernabelle with another design on her hands and brought Comrade Price out of Bohemia.
Even if Dulcie’s winter sports hadn’t done the trick I guess it would of been done easy by her report that Bohemians was no longer thought to be smart in New York, Red Gap being keenly sensitive in such matters. Metta Bigler’s mother firmly turned out the half-lights in Bohemia when she heard of this talk of Dulcie’s. I don’t blame her. She didn’t one bit relish having her neat home referred to as a slum, say nothing of having her only child using a lip stick and acting like an abandoned woman with cigarettes and the wine cup.
She said just that to me, Metta’s mother did. She said she had heard that New York was all broken up into social sets, the same way Red Gap is, and if Bohemians wasn’t being took up by the better element in New York, then they shouldn’t be took up by the better element of Red Gap—at least not in any home of which the deed was still in her name. She said of course she couldn’t keep Metta’s guest from being a Bohemian, but she would have to be it alone. She wasn’t going to have a whole mob coming round every day and being Bohemians all over the place, it being not only messy but repugnant alike to sound morality and Christian enlightenment. And that settled it. Our town was safe for one more winter. Of course God only knows what someone may start next winter. We are far off from things, but by no means safe.
Cousin Egbert was kind of sorry for Vernabelle. He said if she’d just stuck to plain glass blowing she might of got by with it. He’s a wonder, that man—as teachable as a granite bowlder.
My Godfrey! Ten-thirty, and me having to start the spring sport of ditch cleaning to-morrow morning at seven! Won’t I ever learn!
By the evening lamp in the Arrowhead living room I did my bit, for the moment, by holding a hank of gray wool for Ma Pettengill to wind. While this minor war measure went forward the day’s mail came. From a canvas sack Lew Wee spilled letters and papers on the table. Whereupon the yarn was laid by while Ma Pettengill eagerly shuffled the letters. She thought fit to extenuate this eagerness. She said if people lived forever they would still get foolishly excited over their mail; whereas everyone knew well enough that nothing important ever came in it. To prove this she sketched a rapid and entirely unexciting summary of the six unopened letters she held.