“Ah, it’s too late now to mind him,” she sighed. In a moment of rash good feeling, or perhaps an exalted conception of duty, she had herself proposed that Lindau should come every week and read German with Tom; and it had become a question first how they could get him to take pay for it, and then how they could get him to stop it. Mrs. March never ceased to wonder at herself for having brought this about, for she had warned her husband against making any engagement with Lindau which would bring him regularly to the house: the Germans stuck so, and were so unscrupulously dependent. Yet, the deed being done, she would not ignore the duty of hospitality, and it was always she who made the old man stay to their Sunday-evening tea when he lingered near the hour, reading Schiller and Heine and Uhland with the boy, in the clean shirt with which he observed the day; Lindau’s linen was not to be trusted during the week. She now concluded a season of mournful reflection by saying, “He will get you into trouble, somehow, Basil.”
“Well, I don’t know how, exactly. I regard Lindau as a political economist of an unusual type; but I shall not let him array me against the constituted authorities. Short of that, I think I am safe.”
“Well, be careful, Basil; be careful. You know you are so rash.”
“I suppose I may continue to pity him? He is such a poor, lonely old fellow. Are you really sorry he’s come into our lives, my dear?”
“No, no; not that. I feel as you do about it; but I wish I felt easier about him—sure, that is, that we’re not doing wrong to let him keep on talking so.”
“I suspect we couldn’t help it,” March returned, lightly. “It’s one of what Lindau calls his ‘brincibles’ to say what he thinks.”
The Marches had no longer the gross appetite for novelty which urges youth to a surfeit of strange scenes, experiences, ideas; and makes travel, with all its annoyances and fatigues, an inexhaustible delight. But there is no doubt that the chief pleasure of their life in New York was from its quality of foreignness: the flavor of olives, which, once tasted, can never be forgotten. The olives may not be of the first excellence; they may be a little stale, and small and poor, to begin with, but they are still olives, and the fond palate craves them. The sort which grew in New York, on lower Sixth Avenue and in the region of Jefferson Market and on the soft exposures south of Washington Square, were none the less acceptable because they were of the commonest Italian variety.