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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 311 pages of information about David Harum.

CHAPTER XXIV.

The meal proceeded in silence for a few minutes.  Mrs. Cullom had said but little, but John noticed that her diction was more conventional than in her talk with David and himself in the morning, and that her manner at the table was distinctly refined, although she ate with apparent appetite, not to say hunger.  Presently she said, with an air of making conversation, “I suppose you’ve always lived in the city, Mr. Lenox?”

“It has always been my home,” he replied, “but I have been away a good deal.”

“I suppose folks in the city go to theaters a good deal,” she remarked.

“They have a great many opportunities,” said John, wondering what she was leading up to.  But he was not to discover, for David broke in with a chuckle.

“Ask Polly, Mis’ Cullom,” he said.  “She c’n tell ye all about the theater, Polly kin.”  Mrs. Cullom looked from David to Mrs. Bixbee, whose face was suffused.

“Tell her,” said David, with a grin.

“I wish you’d shet up,” she exclaimed.  “I sha’n’t do nothin’ of the sort.”

“Ne’ mind,” said David cheerfully, “I’ll tell ye, Mis’ Cullom.”

“Dave Harum!” expostulated Mrs. Bixbee, but he proceeded without heed of her protest.

“Polly an’ I,” he said, “went down to New York one spring some years ago.  Her nerves was some wore out ’long of diff’rences with Sairy about clearin’ up the woodshed, an’ bread risin’s, an’ not bein’ able to suit herself up to Purse’s in the qual’ty of silk velvit she wanted fer a Sunday-go-to-meetin’ gown, an’ I thought a spell off ’d do her good.  Wa’al, the day after we got there I says to her while we was havin’ breakfust—­it was picked-up el’phant on toast, near ’s I c’n remember, wa’n’t it, Polly?”

“That’s as near the truth as most o’ the rest on’t so fur,” said Polly with a sniff.

“Wa’al, I says to her,” he proceeded, untouched by her scorn, “’How’d you like to go t’ the theater?  You hain’t never ben,’ I says, ‘an’ now you’re down here you may jest as well see somethin’ while you got a chanst,’ I says.  Up to that time” he remarked, as it were in passing, “she’d ben somewhat pre_juced_ ’ginst theaters, an’——­”

“Wa’al,” Mrs. Bixbee broke in, “I guess what we see that night was cal’lated——­”

“You hold on,” he interposed.  “I’m tellin’ this story.  You had a chanst to an’ wouldn’t.  Anyway,” he resumed, “she allowed she’d try it once, an’ we agreed we’d go somewheres that night.  But somethin’ happened to put it out o’ my mind, an’ I didn’t think on’t agin till I got back to the hotel fer supper.  So I went to the feller at the news-stand an’ says, ‘Got any show-tickits fer to-night?’

“‘Theater?’ he says.

“‘I reckon so,’ I says.

“‘Wa’al,’ he says, ‘I hain’t got nothin’ now but two seats fer ‘Clyanthy.’

“‘Is it a good show?’ I says—­’moral, an’ so on?  I’m goin’ to take my sister, an’ she’s a little pertic’ler about some things,’ I says.  He kind o’ grinned, the feller did.  ‘I’ve took my wife twice, an’ she’s putty pertic’ler herself,’ he says, laughin.’”

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