“They ride modern machines, but they live in the tenth century. That’s what we’re always forgetting when we come to Europe and see these barbarians enjoying all our up-to-date improvements.”
“There, doesn’t that console you?” asked his mother, and she took him away with her, laughing back from the door. “I don’t believe it does, a bit!”
“I don’t believe she understands the child,” said Mrs. March. “She is very light, don’t you think? I don’t know, after all, whether it wouldn’t be a good thing for her to marry Kenby. She is very easygoing, and she will be sure to marry somebody.”
She had fallen into a tone of musing censure, and he said, “You might put these ideas to her.”
With the passage of the days and weeks, the strange faces which had familiarized themselves at the springs disappeared; even some of those which had become the faces of acquaintance began to go. In the diminishing crowd the smile of Otterson was no longer to be seen; the sad, severe visage of Major Eltwin, who seemed never to have quite got his bearings after his error with General Triscoe, seldom showed itself. The Triscoes themselves kept out of the Marches’ way, or they fancied so; Mrs. Adding and Rose alone remained of their daily encounter.
It was full summer, as it is everywhere in mid-August, but at Carlsbad the sun was so late getting up over the hills that as people went to their breakfasts at the cafes up the valley of the Tepl they found him looking very obliquely into it at eight o’clock in the morning. The yellow leaves were thicker about the feet of the trees, and the grass was silvery gray with the belated dews. The breakfasters were fewer than they had been, and there were more little barefooted boys and girls with cups of red raspberries which they offered to the passers with cries of “Himbeeren! Himbeeren!” plaintive as the notes of birds left songless by the receding summer.
March was forbidden the fruit, but his wife and Mrs. Adding bought recklessly of it, and ate it under his eyes with their coffee and bread, pouring over it pots of clotted cream that the ‘schone’ Lili brought them. Rose pretended an indifference to it, which his mother betrayed was a sacrifice in behalf of March’s inability.
Lili’s delays in coming to be paid had been such that the Marches now tried to pay her when she brought their breakfast, but they sometimes forgot, and then they caught her whenever she came near them. In this event she liked to coquet with their impatience; she would lean against their table, and say: “Oh, no. You stay a little. It is so nice.” One day after such an entreaty, she said, “The queen is here, this morning.”
Mrs. March started, in the hope of highhotes. “The queen!”
“Yes; the young lady. Mr. Burnamy was saying she was a queen. She is there with her father.” She nodded in the direction of a distant corner, and the Marches knew that she meant Miss Triscoe and the general. “She is not seeming so gayly as she was being.”