“That was just the best dinner I have had in centuries,” said Thaddeus, as they adjourned to the library after the meal was over. “The broiled chicken was so good, Bess, that for a moment I wished I were a bachelor again, so that I could have it all; and after I got over my first feeling of hesitation over the oysters, and realized that it was September with an R—belated, it is true, but still there—and ate six of them, I think I could have gone downstairs and given cook a diamond ring with seven solitaires in it and a receipted bill for a seal-skin sacque. I don’t see how we ever could have thought of discharging her last June, do you?”
“It was a good dinner,” said Bessie, discreetly ignoring the allusion to their intentions in June; for she had a well-defined recollection that at that time Bridget had given signs of emotional insanity every time she was asked to prepare a five-o’clock breakfast for Thaddeus and his friends, to the number of six, who had acquired the habit of going off on little shooting trips every Saturday, making the home of Thaddeus their headquarters over Sunday, when the game the huntsmen had bagged the day before had to be plucked, cleaned, and cooked by her own hands for dinner. “And it was nicely selected, too,” she added. “I sometimes think that I’ll let Bridget do the ordering at the market.”
“H’m! Well,” said Thaddeus, shaking his head dubiously, “I haven’t a doubt that Bridget could do it, and would be very glad to do it; but I don’t believe in setting a cook up in business.”
“How do you mean?”
“I mean that I haven’t any doubt that Bridget would in a very short time become a highly successful produce-broker with bull tendencies. The chicken market would be buoyant, and the quotations on the Stock Exchange of, say, B., S., and P.-U.-C.—otherwise, Beef, Succotash, and Picked-Up-Codfish—would rise to the highest point in years. Why, my dear, by Christmas-time cook would have our surplus in her own pocket-book; and in the place of the customary five oranges and an apple she would receive from the butcher a Christmas-card in the shape of a check of massive, if not graceful, proportions. No, Bess, I think the old way is the best.”
“Perhaps it is. By-the-way, John has kept the grounds looking well, hasn’t he? The lawn doesn’t seem to have a weed on it,” said Bessie, walking to the window and gazing out at the soft velvety sward in the glow of twilight.