Indeed, the story purported to come from Tommy Gregg, who declared that the boy at Liscom’s had “hollered” fire, and when he was asked where it was had told him at Liscom’s. However that may have been, I looked around at our humble little home, at the lounge which I had covered myself, at the threadbare carpet on the sitting-room floor, at the wallpaper which was put on the year before my husband died, at the vases on the shelf, which had belonged to my mother, and I was very thankful that I did not care for “extra things” or new furniture and carpets enough to take boarders who made one feel as if one were simply a colonist of their superior state, and the Republic was over and gone.
WE BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH THEM
It was certainly rather unfortunate, as far as the social standing of the Jamesons among us was concerned, that they brought Grandma Cobb with them.
Everybody spoke of her as Grandma Cobb before she had been a week in the village. Mrs. H. Boardman Jameson always called her Madam Cobb, but that made no difference. People in our village had not been accustomed to address old ladies as madam, and they did not take kindly to it. Grandma Cobb was of a very sociable disposition, and she soon developed the habit of dropping into the village houses at all hours of the day and evening. She was an early riser, and all the rest of her family slept late, and she probably found it lonesome. She often made a call as early as eight o’clock in the morning, and she came as late as ten o’clock in the evening. When she came in the morning she talked, and when she came in the evening she sat in her chair and nodded. She often kept the whole family up, and it was less exasperating when she came in the morning, though it was unfortunate for the Jamesons.
If a bulletin devoted to the biography of the Jameson family had been posted every week on the wall of the town house it could have been no more explicit than was Grandma Cobb. Whether we would or not we soon knew all about them; the knowledge was fairly forced upon us. We knew that Mr. H. Boardman Jameson had been very wealthy, but had lost most of his money the year before through the failure of a bank. We knew that his wealth had all been inherited, and that he would never have been, in Grandma Cobb’s opinion, capable of earning it himself. We knew that he had obtained, through the influence of friends, a position in the custom-house, and we knew the precise amount of his salary. We knew that the Jamesons had been obliged to give up their palatial apartments in New York and take a humble flat in a less fashionable part of the city. We knew that they had always spent their summers at their own place at the seashore, and that this was the first season of their sojourn in a little country village in a plain house. We knew how hard a struggle it had been for them to come here; we knew just how much they paid for their board, how Mrs. Jameson never wanted anything for breakfast but an egg and a hygienic biscuit, and had health food in the middle of the forenoon and afternoon.