I gave her that for nothing one morning—I mean the suggestion in general, though of course not personal—and she looked at me as if trying to understand. And then something came in her face that must have been an idea in her brain (her brain is slow), for, two days afterward, she said she was going away. A week later she went to see a rich aunt on her father’s side who has a summer home somewhere and corrals young men and compels them to come to it, Miss Bettie Simcoe says. When she was gone a great weight seemed lifted off everybody, and even the servants breathed better. As for Miss Susanna, she was that lightened and relieved, though naturally not saying so, that she looked ten years younger, and I know now it is true that some people in a house are like fruit-cake on a weak stomach. They make life hard. I didn’t say my prayers that night. I just sang the Doxology three times as loud as I could and jumped into bed. Praise is prayer.
I have been here four weeks to-day. If there are any people in or around Twickenham Town that I do not know, it is because they are not knowable. I love people, and, being naturally sociable and not very particular, I have had a perfectly grand time making acquaintances with the high and the low and, the in-betweeners; and the sick and well, and the dear and the queer, and the ancestrals and up-comers, and the rich and the poor, and every other variety that grows; and now I am as familiar with most of the family histories as the oldest inhabitant. That’s the nice part of living in a small place. Something depends on you and you depend on all the rest of the town, but at home you’re lost in numbers and only a few know you’re living. Here everybody knows, also they know some things that perhaps had better be unknown. As for talk, they are the best talkers on earth, and there’s no subject under the sun they won’t talk about. It’s an inheritance, Father says, and has been handed down from ages past, and, though they don’t read very much, they can do more with a little knowledge than most learned people with their information, and they make anything they mention interesting from the way they mention it. I love to hear them, and I’ve heard a good deal.
Dear, precious Miss Susanna in the secrecy of my bedroom gave me a little talk a few nights ago, and said she hoped I wouldn’t mind, but as I was young and inexperienced she thought it her duty to tell me that I must be careful and not too informal, for certain people wouldn’t understand; and that while the Holts were a very good, respectable family, still they were not— She stopped and coughed a little, and of course I understood, but I pretended I didn’t, and told her they were perfectly healthy and I had had more fun with the Holt children than with any in town, but if she preferred they should not come to her house to see me I would just stop