“Why should the spirit of mortal be proud,” until it has settled its relative position with both Sirius and the micro-organisms, or has estimated its stature by view-points from the bacterial world and from the constellation of Lyra. Until we have been able to compare opinions from these extremes, if indeed they be extremes, we cannot expect to make a correct estimate of our value in the economy of the universe. I fancy that we are apt to take ourselves too seriously, and that we will sometime marvel at the shadow which we did not cast.
The home lot took on a home look in the spring of 1898. The lawn lost its appearance of newness; the trees became acquainted with each other; the shrubs were on intimate terms with their neighbors, and broke into friendly rivalry of blossoms; the gardens had a settled-down look, as if they had come to stay; and even the wall flowers were enjoying themselves. These efforts of nature to make us feel at ease were thankfully received by Polly and me, and we voted that this was more like home than anything else we had ever had; and when the fruit trees put forth their promise of an autumn harvest in great masses of blossoms, we declared that we had made no mistake in transforming ourselves from city to country folk.
“Aristocracy is of the land,” said Polly. “It always has been and always will be the source of dignity and stability. I feel twice as great a lady as I did in the tall house on B—— Street.”
“So you don’t want to go back to that tall house, madam?”
“Indeed I don’t. Why should I?”
“I don’t know why you should, only I remember Lot’s wife looked back toward the city.”
“Don’t mention that woman! She didn’t know what she wanted. You won’t catch me looking toward the city, except once a week for three or four hours, and then I hurry back to the farm to see what has happened in my garden while I’ve been away.”
“But how about your friends, Polly?”
“You know as well as I that we haven’t lost a friend by living out here, and that we’ve tied some of them closer. No, sir! No more city life for me. It may do for young people, who don’t know better, but not for me. It’s too restricted, and there’s not enough excitement.”
“Country life fits us like paper on the wall,” said I, “but how about the youngsters? If we insist on keeping children, we must take them into our scheme of life.”
“Of course we must, but children are an unknown quantity. They are x in the domestic problem, and we cannot tell what they stand for until the problem is worked out. I don’t see why we can’t find the value of x in the country as easily as in the city. They have had city and school life, now let them see country life; the x will stand for wide experience at least.”
“Jane likes it thus far,” said I, “and I think she will continue; but I don’t feel so sure about Jack.”