Edith was quietly married to Albert at Easter time, in the English Chapel at Florence. The event was hastened by the sudden appearance of Mae’s parents, who set sail soon after hearing of the Sorrento escapade and the embryonic engagement, which awaited their sanction before being announced. Everything was beautifully smooth at last. Edith and Albert left the day of their marriage for Munich, and later, Mrs. Jerrold was to settle down with them at Tuebingen. The rest of the party were to summer in Switzerland; then came fall, and then—what?
Norman thought he knew, and Mae said she thought he didn’t, but this young woman was losing half her character for willfulness, and Norman was growing into a perfect tyrant, so far as his rights were concerned. Easter is a season of marriages. Mae read in a Roman paper the betrothal announcement of the Signor Bero and Signorina Lillia Taria. “I would like to send them a real beautiful present,” said she, and Norman did not say no. So these two hunted all over Florence, and at length, in the studio of a certain not unknown Florentine, they discovered the very gift Mae desired—a picture of a young Italian soldier, bringing home his bride to his own people. There was the aged mother, proud and happy, waiting to bid the dark-eyed girl welcome. “She has a real ‘old Nokomis’ air,” laughed Mae. “I know she would have told her son not to seek ’a stranger whom he knew not.’” The distant olive-colored hillsides, the splashing fountain near at hand, each face, and even the thick strong sunshine seemed to bear a tiny stamp with Italy graven on it. “The name of the picture is exactly right,” said Mae. Under the painting were these words: “Italia Our Home.”
Norman would hardly have been human if he had not cast a quick glance at her as she stood thoughtfully before the picture. Mae was almost as good as an Italian for involuntary posing. She had made a tableau of herself now, with one hand at her eyes to shade them from the glare of the sun that fell fiercely through the window, her head half on one side, and a bit of drapery, of lace or soft silk, tight around her white throat. She felt Norman’s glance, and looked up quickly, and smiled and shook her head: “No, Italy is not my home, although I love it so well. There is a certain wide old doorway not many miles from New York, and the hills around it, and the great river before it, and the people in it, all belong together, too. That’s where we belong, Norman, in America, our home,” and Mae struck a grand final pose with her hands clasped ecstatically, and her eyes flashing in the true Goddess of Liberty style.
“Yes, I believe we do, Mae; I am almost anxious to get back and begin work in that young, eager country.”
“And so am I,” said Mae.
Norman laughed. “To think of your coming down to work, you young butterfly.”
“It is what we all have to come to, isn’t it?—unless we go to that creature that finds some mischief still for idle hands to do. I don’t expect to come to stone-cutting or cattle-driving, but I do expect to settle down into a tolerable housewifely little woman, and—”