Of all the insane ravings! I put it on my hearth and struck a match, and the thing went up in flame and smoke. Then I went down to poor little Peggy and patched up a story. I have always been averse to lying, and I did not lie then, although I must admit that what I said was open to criticism when it comes to exact verity. I told Peggy that Harry thought that he had done something to make her angry (that was undeniably true) and did not dare write her. I refused utterly to tell her just what was in the letter, but I did succeed in quieting her and making her think that Harry had not broken faith with her, but was blaming himself for some unknown and imaginary wrong he had done her. Peggy rushed immediately up to her room to write reassuring pages to Harry, and her old-maid aunt had the horse put in the runabout and was driven over to Whitman, where nobody knows her—at least the telegraph operator does not. Then I sent a telegram to Mr. Harry Goward to the effect that if he did not keep his promise with regard to writing F. L. to P. her A. would never speak to him again; that A. was about to send L., but he must keep his promise with regard to P. by next M.
It looked like the most melodramatic Sunday personal ever invented. It might have meant burglary or murder or a snare for innocence, but I sent it. Now I have written. My letter went in the same mail as poor Peggy’s, but what will be the outcome of it all I cannot say. Sometimes I catch Peggy looking at me with a curious awakened expression, and then I wonder if she has begun to suspect. I cannot tell how it will end.
III. THE GRANDMOTHER
by Mary Heaton Vorse
The position of an older woman in her daughter’s house is often difficult. It makes no difference to me that Ada is a mother herself; she might be even a great-grandmother, and yet in my eyes she would still be Ada, my little girl. I feel the need of guiding her and protecting her just as much this minute as when she was a baby in the nursery; only now the task is much more difficult. That is why I say that the position of women placed as I am is often hard, harder than if I lived somewhere else, because although I am with Ada I can no longer protect her from anything—not even from myself, my illnesses and weaknesses. It sometimes seems to me, so eagerly do I follow the lights and shadows of my daughter’s life, as if I were living a second existence together with my own. Only as I grow older I am less fitted physically to bear things, even though I take them philosophically.
When Ada and the rest of my children were little, I could guard against the menaces to their happiness; I could keep them out of danger; if their little friends didn’t behave, I sent them home. When it was needed, I didn’t hesitate to administer a good wholesome spanking to my children. There isn’t one of these various things but needs doing now in Ada’s house. I can’t, however, very well spank Cyrus, nor can I send Elizabeth home. All I can do is to sit still and hold my tongue, though I don’t know, I’m sure, what the end of it all is to be.