Nancy’s cheeks burned when she remembered something she had innocently said to Mrs. Fielding, in the early days of their acquaintance. The fare to the city was seventy cents, and Nancy commented with a sort of laughing protest upon the quickness with which her mileage books were exhausted, between the boys’ dentist appointments, shopping trips, the trips twice a month that helped to keep Agnes and Dora happy, and the occasional dinner and theatre party she herself had with Bert.
“Besides that,” she smiled ruefully, “There’s the cab fare to the station, that wretched Kilroy charges fifty cents each way, even for Anne, and double after ten o’clock at night, so that it almost pays Mr. Bradley and myself to stay in town!”
“I never go in the train, I don’t believe I’ve ever made the trip that way,” said Mrs. Fielding pleasantly. And immediately she added, “Thorn has nothing to do, and it saves me any amount of fatigue, having him follow me about!”
“But what do you do with the car, if you stay in for the theatre?” Nancy asked, a day or two later, after she and Bert had made some calculations as to the expense of this.
“Oh, Thorn leaves it in some garage, there are lots of them. And he gets his dinner somewhere, and goes to a show himself, I suppose!” Mrs. Fielding said. Nancy made no answer, but when she and Bert were next held on a Fifth Avenue crossing, she spoke of it again. Hundreds of men and women younger than Nancy and Bert were sitting in that river of motor-cars—how easily for granted they seemed to feel them!
“Just as I am beginning to take my lovely husband and children, and my beautiful home for granted,” Nancy said sensibly, giving herself a little shake. “We have too much now, and here I am wondering what it would be like to have a motor-car!”
And the next day she spoke carelessly at the club of the smaller bathhouses.
“This is a wonderful bath house of yours, Mrs. Ingram; but aren’t there smaller ones?”
Mrs. Ingram, a distinguished-looking, plain woman of forty, with the pleasantest smile in the world, turned quickly from the big dressing room she had just engaged, and was inspecting.
“Yes, there are, Mrs. Bradley, they’re in that little green row, right against the wall of the garages. We had to have them, you know, for the children, and a bachelor or two, who couldn’t use a big one, and then of course the maids love to go in, in the mornings—my boys used one until last year, preferred it!”
And she smiled at the two tall boys in crumpled linen, who were testing the pegs and investigating the advantages of the room. Nancy had meant to be firm about that bathhouse, but she did not feel quite equal to it at this moment. She allowed her fancy to play for one delightful minute with the thought of a big dressing room; the one right next to Mrs. Ingram’s, with the green awning!
“But twenty dollars a season is an outrageous rent for a bathhouse!” she said to Bert that night.