Jane had improved upon her first idea. There were not only ham sandwiches; there were baked beans between brown bread, thin slices of broiled bacon in hot baking-powder biscuit. Henry Bittinger said to Atwood Jones afterward: “The food was so good that if she had been as ugly as sin she’d have got away with it.”
“She isn’t ugly,” said Atwood, and had a fleeting moment of speculation as to whether Jane with her red hair would fit into his plutocratic future.
Jane had made fifty sandwiches. She sold them all, and took ten dollars home with her.
“I shall make a hundred next time,” she said to Tommy, whom she picked up on the way back. “And—it wasn’t so dreadful, Tommy.”
But that night as she lay in bed looking out toward the mountain, silver-tipped in the moonlight, she had a shivering sense of the eyes of some of the men—of Tillotson, who kept the hotel, and of others of his kind.
O-liver had stayed at home that Saturday night to write a certain weekly letter. He had stayed at home also because he didn’t approve of Jane.
“But you haven’t seen her,” Tommy protested.
“I know the type.”
On Sunday morning Tommy brought him a baked-bean sandwich. “It isn’t as fresh as it might be. But you can see what she’s giving us.”
There were months of O-liver’s life which had been spent with a grandmother in Boston. His grandmother had made brown bread and she had baked beans. And now as he ate his sandwich there was the savor of all the gastronomic memories of a healthy and happy childhood.
“It’s delicious,” he said, “but she’d better not mix with that crowd.”
“She doesn’t mix,” said Tommy.
“She’ll have to.” O-liver had in mind a red-haired woman, raw-boned, with come-hither eyes. Her kind was not uncommon. Tommy’s infatuation would of course elevate her to a pedestal.
“She’s going to make a hundred sandwiches next week,” Tommy vouchsafed.
O-liver’s mind could scarcely compass one hundred sandwiches. “She’d better stick to her leeks and lettuce.”
He rode away the next Saturday night. It was his protest against the interest roused in the community by this Jane who sold sandwiches. He heard of her everywhere. Some of the men were respectful and some were not. It depended largely on the nature of the particular male.
O-liver rode Mary Pick and wore his straw helmet. His way led down into the valley and up again and down, until at last he came to the sea. Then he followed the water’s edge, letting Mary Pick dance now and then on the hard beach, with the waves curling up like cream, and beyond the waves a stretch of pale azure to the horizon.
He reached finally a fantastic settlement. Against the sky towered walls which might have inclosed an ancient city—walls built of cloth and wood instead of stone. Beyond these walls were thatched cottages which had no occupants; a quaint church which had no congregation; a Greek temple which had no vestals, no sacred fire, no altar; hedges which had no roots. O-liver weighing the hollowness of it all had thought whimsically of an old nursery rime: