She was alone in the world, without near connections of her own, or relatives of her husband’s, and it would be a mercy if they could let their daughter come and visit her; she would not call it more than a visit; that would be the best thing on both sides; she told of her great fancy for Clementina the first time she saw her, and of her husband’s wish that she would come and visit with them then for the winter. As for that money she had tried to make the child take, she presumed that they knew about it, and she wished to say that she did it because she was afraid Mr. Lander had said so much about the sewing, that they would be disappointed. She gave way to her tears at the recollection, and confessed that she wanted the child to have the money anyway. She ended by asking Mrs. Claxon if she would please to let her have a drink of water; and she looked about the room, and said that they had got it finished up a great deal, now, had not they? She made other remarks upon it, so apt that Mrs. Claxon gave her a sort of permissive invitation to look about the whole lower floor, ending with the kitchen.
Mrs. Lander sat down there while Mrs. Claxon drew from the pipes a glass of water, which she proudly explained was pumped all over the house by the wind mill that supplied the power for her husband’s turning lathes.
“Well, I wish mah husband could have tasted that wata,” said Mrs. Lander, as if reminded of husbands by the word, and by the action of putting down the glass. “He was always such a great hand for good, cold wata. My! He’d ’a liked youa kitchen, Mrs. Claxon. He always was such a home-body, and he did get so ti’ed of hotels. For all he had such an appearance, when you see him, of bein’—well!—stiff and proud, he was fah moa common in his tastes—I don’t mean common, exactly, eitha—than what I was; and many a time when we’d be drivin’ through the country, and we’d pass some o’ them long-strung-out houses, don’t you know, with the kitchen next to the wood shed, and then an ahchway befoa you get to the stable, Mr. Landa he’d get out, and make an urrand, just so’s to look in at the kitchen dooa; he said it made him think of his own motha’s kitchen. We was both brought up in the country, that’s a fact, and I guess if the truth was known we both expected to settle down and die thea, some time; but now he’s gone, and I don’t know what’ll become o’ me, and sometimes I don’t much care. I guess if Mr. Landa’d ’a seen youa kitchen, it wouldn’t ‘a’ been so easy to git him out of it; and I do believe if he’s livin’ anywhe’ now he takes as much comfo’t in my settin’ here as what I do. I presume I shall settle down somewhe’s before a great while, and if you could make up youa mind to let your daughta come to me for a little visit till spring, you couldn’t do a thing that ’d please Mr. Landa moa.”
Mrs. Claxon said that she would talk it over with the child’s father; and then Mrs. Lander pressed her to let her take Clementina back to the Middlemount with her for supper, if they wouldn’t let her stay the night. After Clementina had driven away, Mrs. Claxon accused herself to her husband of being the greatest fool in the State, but he said that the carriage was one of the Middlemount rigs, and he guessed it was all right. He could see that Clem was wild to go, and he didn’t see why she shouldn’t.