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Title: Life with Mother (1937)
Author: Clarence Day
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Language:  English
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Title: Life with Mother (1937)
Author: Clarence Day


Most of the chapters of this book were published before Clarence's
death, but some were still in manuscript.  These had to be sorted
carefully because he had a habit of writing on whatever scrap of
paper was handy--backs of envelopes, tax memoranda, or small pads
of paper which he could hold in his hands on days when they were
too lame for the big ones.

We talked daily about his father and mother and I knew perfectly
the material he had in mind to use.  Then I found, as I read and
sorted the manuscripts, not only had he told it to me, but that he
had written it down.  Clarence had done all but the last chores
involved in preparing a manuscript for a typist.  All that remained
to be done was the mechanical job of piecing together the incidents
so that they could be copied.  His work on his father and mother
was finished.

There was one exception: Mother's last home was so characteristic
of her and meant so much to her that, following notes, and copying
from Clarence's diary, I inserted a description of her last days.

When he was alive Clarence used to speak of what the interest of
his friends, his brother George Parmly Day and his wife, and Mr.
Knopf and his staff had meant to him.  It would not be fair to
publish this book without thanking them for their continuing
kindness; and also thanking two of his friends especially: Mrs.
Alice Duer Miller and Mrs. Katharine S. White, for their ever-ready
and helpful criticism.

Katherine B. Day

June 1937

The most authentic witnesses of any man's character are those who
know him in his own family, and see him without any restraint or
rule but such as he voluntarily prescribes to himself.

                                                    DR. JOHNSON

With acknowledgments to the editors of The New Yorker, The Ladies'
Home Journal, The Saturday Review of Literature, and the Literary
Review of the New York Evening Post, in which periodicals these
chapters first appeared.


Mother Reads My Article to Father

Mother and Father Meet

Father Visits the War

Father's Methods of Courtship

Grandpa Assists at a Sance

Mother Shows Us Off

Noble Boys

Mother Gives Father a Surprise

Father Buys Us a Boat

Mother on Horseback

Mother and Bessie Skinner's Ring

Father Brightens the Sickroom

Mother Gets an Allowance

Father and Old Mother Earth

Father Invests in a Livery

Mother and Our Wicked Mare

Father's Troublesome Neighbour

Mother Makes a Mustard Plaster

Mother and Pug Dogs and Rubber Trees

Mother Plays Her Role

Father's Home Disappears

Mother Travels Alone

Mother and the Servant Problem

Mother's Last Home


There has been some discussion in the Day family, among its members
and friends, of the things that I say about Father and Mother.  One
of their objections is that in several places I haven't been
accurate.  I have tried to be, but memories are sometimes inexact,
and mine is no exception.

However, these pieces have been subjected to a great deal of
scrutiny, helpful and otherwise, from members of the family who
have sometimes remembered things differently.  Cousin Julia for
instance insists that Mother's musicales occurred in the evening,
whereas I have described one as taking place in the late afternoon.
I feel sure that in this case I am right, for we used to write each
other long letters about family doings and these have given me
contemporary accounts of the scenes I've described.  Other scenes
have come down through the years as family anecdotes.  Since I was
an actor in most of them they have remained dramatically printed on
my mind.  Besides, any memories of two such persons as Father and
Mother are bound to be vivid.

The other family objection is that in printing these stories I have
not been decently reticent.  My feeling was that these two persons
were so utterly themselves, so completely natural and true, that
the only good way to tell about them was to paint them just as they

The first article I printed about them was written one night when I
needed an extra paragraph for a column which I was occasionally
writing, that year, for the literary supplement of the New York
Evening Post.

On a visit to Father and Mother one summer I found that they had a
new dog.  He was leading a happy and interesting life with them,
but a somewhat bewildered one too.  I had made a note in my diary
of the following instance:

My father is fond of dogs.  Likes to train them.  His method is
this:  He says to the new dog, "Good Jackie," or whatever the name
is.  The dog wags his tail.  "Come here," says my father; "come
here, boy."  The dog looks at him doubtfully.  My father, who
hasn't a great deal of patience, raises his voice:  "Come!  Come
here, sir!"

The dog grows alarmed and tries to get out.

My father advances upon him, repeating, "Come here!" with
increasing annoyance and sternness.

"I wish you'd let Jackie alone," says my mother.  "He doesn't know
what you want of him."

"Pooh!  Of course he does," declares my father.  "He knows damn
well.  Come HERE, sir!"  And he drags the new dog from under the

"Sit up," he instructs him.  The dog is utterly limp.  "Sit up.
Come!  Sit up."  He shakes his finger at him.  "Sit up, sir!"

"Oh, please don't," says my mother.  "How CAN you expect the poor
thing to sit up when he doesn't know a word that you're saying!"

"Will you let me alone?" shouts my father.  "Sit UP, sir!  Sit UP!"

My mother goes to the door.  "I'll not stay here and see that dog
frightened to death."

"Frighten!" my father says, testily.  "What nonsense!  I know dogs.
They all like me."

The dog sees the door being opened and suddenly bolts.

My father grabs fiercely at him.  In vain.  "Confound it!" he says,
in a passion.  "Now see what you've done!  You've spoiled my whole
plan."  He stamps.

"You could never--" my mother begins.

"I COULD!" roars my father.  "But I can't do a thing if I'm
interfered with.  Where's that dog gone?  JACKIE!  Here, Jackie!
Come here, sir!"

I copied this fragment out of my diary, tucked it in as a filler,
and when it appeared I showed it to Mother.

"I remember that day," she said.  "That's just the way he always
treats dogs."  She hurried off with the clipping to where Father
was, in the library.  "Here, Clare," she said triumphantly, "read

Father read it in his usual slow, careful, methodical way, taking
note of each word.  He looked up at Mother with a smile of
satisfaction and sympathy.  "I hope you'll behave yourself after
this," he chuckled, "that's just how you kept interfering with my
training that dog."

This emboldened me to try my hand at describing a few other
incidents of our family life, scenes which I felt were too good to
remain buried for ever.  They came out in Harper's.  Every time one
appeared it became a subject of debate between Father and Mother.
For some reason or other, perhaps because they were without self-
consciousness, the publicity seemed to be of small or no concern to
them, so long as each felt I had been strictly accurate and
presented his or her side so clearly that the other should blush.
Neither of them ever did blush, however.  They got so provoked at
each other once or twice, because of this, that they went back and
re-fought the whole battle.

These sketches were read by other persons, friends of theirs--
including some who had felt rather buffeted, when they had been our
guests, by the sudden indoor squalls or tornadoes that characterised
our family life.  They told me that these stray fragments had made
them understand Father better.

Strangers wrote to me that this or that member of their own
families was very much like Father.  The effect upon most of these
readers was to enroll them as Father's friends.

So a few years after Father and Mother died I began again
describing old scenes.

These characters may or may not be Father and Mother.  All I can
say is that they are Father and Mother as I saw them.


Father, although spirited and jolly, was a clear-eyed and careful
young man.  He was methodical about arranging his life, step by
step.  He did things one at a time.

Until he got married he continued to live with his parents.  He ate
out a good deal, but he didn't approve of living in lodgings--it
would have made him feel lonely--and he saw no reason to set up a
home of his own until he had a wife to put in it.

He was a self-reliant young man however.  He had made his own way
from the start.  It wasn't until he was twenty-one and had had
nearly seven years' business experience that he asked any favours
of Grandpa, and all he then asked for was a loan of three thousand
dollars (at six per cent.) to buy a seat on the Stock Exchange.
This was in 1866.  He and another young man, Fisher Johnson, formed
a firm of their own, and by the time Father was twenty-five he was
becoming well seasoned.  He had gone through the panic of '69 and
Black Friday, and had begun to make money.  He then started in to
arrange the other sides of his life.

One of the first things he did was to throw out the furniture that
his parents had put in his bedroom, and buy and install a set to
his liking--a solid brown walnut bed and bureau, chiffonier, chairs
and table that he used for the next forty years.  This set also
included a carved upright desk with places for his files and
account books.

His next step was to buy a little clavier keyboard and learn finger-
exercises.  When he had exercised his fingers enough to warrant it,
he bought a piano and hired an old German musician to teach him how
to play.

What with Father's intolerance of the old family furniture, and his
criticisms of old family ways, and his pounding determinedly night
after night on his piano, Grandpa began to get restive.  But
Grandma, to whom Grandpa was silently but deeply devoted,
interceded for Father every time things came to a head and managed
from one day to another to smooth Grandpa down.

Grandpa tried to be patient, on the theory that his son would soon
marry.  Father seemed to be planning to propose to a cousin of his
who lived in West Springfield.  They must have had some
understanding between them for he gave her a ring and a watch.  But
they soon had a quarrel.  They decided they had made a mistake, and
the ring was returned.

Disappointing as this was to Grandpa it did not interrupt Father's
programme; it merely changed a little the order of the steps he was
planning.  He joined a club and went there regularly to see other
men and play billiards.  He disliked to visit ordinary billiard
parlours.  He had made up his mind they were low.  As to drinking,
he took wine with his dinner, and beer or ale with his lunch, but
he didn't drink at bars or between meals because that was a poor
way to do it.

In 1869 he found that he could get away for a few months from
business and he thereupon treated himself to a vacation abroad.  He
had several things to attend to, in Europe.  He went to the best
watchmaker in Switzerland and selected a watch so much to his taste
that he wore it for the rest of his life.  It was a solid, good-
looking gold watch with a cover that Father had to snap open, and
it had to be wound with a key.  When I was a young man it seemed
out of date, but it kept perfect time.

After getting just the right watch, he went to London to get proper
clothes.  The one place that you could rely on to know all about
clothes was Poole's.  Father ordered only enough clothes at Poole's
for his immediate needs, but he left them his measurements, and
thus felt this whole matter satisfactorily settled and off his
mind, like his watch and his furniture.

From that time on, Poole sent him samples of cloths every year, and
Father ordered a suit or an overcoat or whatever he needed.  He
took good care of his clothes, and he never had many at once, but
they had to be right.  The only trouble was that in later years,
when he put on more weight and when he went to England less
frequently, Poole's clothes didn't fit.  A sturdy well-made box
would arrive, through the Customs, and underneath all the layers of
tissue paper would be a handsome dress suit.  Upon trying to force
himself into it, Father didn't feel comfortable--the damn thing
wouldn't button.  He would thereupon get into a cab with this suit
and go to his Fifth Avenue tailor, a most supercilious man, to whom
Father never gave any business except repairs or refittings.  He
would unwillingly alter Poole's things, as directed, at the same
time pointing out to Father--without any effect--that he would do
much better to buy his clothes in New York in the first place.  In
reply, Father would admonish the tailor to make a better job of the
alterations than he had last time, and he would add that he would
be glad to buy his things in New York as soon as he could find any
tailor here who knew how to make clothes.

Each time he went abroad, he would revisit Poole and adjure him to
get his measurements right; and after that, at least for a year or
two, there would be a season of peace, when everything that arrived
fitted him perfectly, and when the Fifth Avenue tailor was given no
work to do except to clean and repair Poole's new masterpieces.
But after a while Father would gain a few pounds again.  This was
always an unwelcome surprise and he disliked to admit to himself it
was true.  Although he never skimped himself on his food, he
thought that he ate very little.  So whenever new difficulties came
upon him, trying to button Poole's clothes, he would never send
Poole any new measurements--he didn't see how he could have
changed.  At the most he would mention, when he wrote, that the
clothes shouldn't be so damned tight.  This worried Poole, who
hated to guess as to where and how to make changes.

Father came back from his first trip to Europe with his watch and
his good clothes from Poole, like a Columbus who had discovered a
pleasant and useful new world.  He had taken his ease in its
cities, he had enjoyed the orderly loveliness of The Hague and the
solid richness of London, and everywhere he had seen what taste and
time could do for homes in the country.  He had no wish to live
among Europeans for he looked down on them, somehow, but he
respected them too for the contributions they had made to his
comfort.  He was especially charmed with their cookery, their wines
and their manners.

The next year, 1870, when he was twenty-five, he went over again.
He wanted to see more of Europe.  He also wanted some shirts.

Sailings in those days were early.  Father arrived at the dock at
seven in the morning, and looked over the ship.  It was the St.
Laurent of the French Line, an iron vessel of three thousand tons,
painted a soft grey and green, and equipped with eight lifeboats.
A liner of nine or ten thousand tons is considered tiny to-day, and
most of them are from twenty up, but the St. Laurent seemed stately
to Father, with her tall masts and white sails.  She was rigged as
a bark but she had engines too of course.  They were of over nine
hundred horsepower.  Also, "grand innovation pour l'poque," she
was one of the new type of ships equipped with a little iron
propeller instead of side paddle-wheels.

There was a great crowd on the dock, or what seemed like one in
1870, for this splendid ship had accommodation for two hundred
first-cabin passengers.  As Father made his way on board, past the
bulky flounces and skirts of the ladies, he saw a man he had met on
the Stock Exchange, Alden B. Stockwell.  Red moustache, bushy
flowing red whiskers, ten years older than Father--a dignified and
powerful man who had come to New York from Ohio.  Alden Stockwell
was saying goodbye to his brother, Levi, and to their little
sister, who was seventeen but who still wore her hair in a red
braid down her back.  Girls were younger at seventeen then than
now.  They were kept in school until the very last minute, when
they suddenly "came out" as young ladies.  Father was introduced to
Levi Stockwell and this schoolgirl, his future wife, and the St.
Laurent sailed.

Levi got seats for the three of them together at table, so that his
little sister wouldn't have to sit next to some stranger.  This was
an exceedingly agreeable arrangement for a sociable young man like
Father, who liked company but who was too formal to pick up

Everybody was formal.  "Even upon a ship, men preserve the habits
of society," a Frenchman of the seventies wrote.  "They are careful
of their dress, their manners, their conversation, the effect they
may produce upon others; each strives to assume his most distingu
air.  The ladies, who, thanks to the privileges which custom
readily grants them, are always inpenetrable even to those who are
their acquaintances, become even more impenetrable on a voyage,
among the wraps, the shawls, the thick veils which transform them
into travelling sphynxes."

There were a number of South American passengers on board the St.
Laurent, dark and talkative men who couldn't speak English.  They
chattered on deck day and night, volubly and rapidly, and sometimes
they woke Father up.  It annoyed him.  He told Levi Stockwell, he
told everybody he met, what an infernal nuisance these Spaniards
were getting to be.

Levi said nothing, but the next morning he got up very early.  The
decks were deserted.  He took up his stand just outside the open
porthole of Father's cabin, and putting his mouth as close to it as
he dared he rapidly repeated all the Spanish words that he could
think of.  There were less than a dozen but he muttered them over
and over.  The effect was one of a bevy of Spaniards engaged in an
endless dispute.

Levi, who was keeping his ear cocked, soon heard sounds inside
Father's cabin, where a sleepy young man was loudly saying "Damn"
to himself, in his berth.  Levi's Spanish instantly became low and
soothing.  Father's mutterings stopped.  But after he had had time
to go back to sleep, the Spanish voices again grew excited, and
they soon became so noisy and urgent that Father sprang out of bed.

"I swear those fellows gabble all night," he said to little Miss
Stockwell at breakfast.

Strange to say, this Mr. Day had a letter of introduction to Dr.
George Parmly of Paris, who was one of the Stockwell family's own
cousins and the one Mother later loved best.  But as to whether she
liked this Mr. Day, she seemed far from sure.  One day he called to
the waiter:  "Here, bring that back, I want some more--that is
GOOD."  Mother told him, "There are other people here besides you!"
"He makes me so mad," she wrote her mother.

Young Mr. Day didn't mind that in the least.  He found this
schoolgirl great fun.  He promenaded the deck with her on breezy
days, with her veils flying and her skirts billowing out, and on
foggy days he placed her chair where the cordage and yards wouldn't
drip on her.  He brought her hot cups of tea.  And when the weather
grew rough and she was too ill to stir, he and Levi took turns
carrying her up on deck for a breath of fresh air.

The air wasn't good down below.  Even that Frenchman, when he wrote
of his travels, spoke about the closed portholes.  At night, he
said, "the atmosphere below is warm and heavy, and silence reigns,
only broken by the regular breathing of the sleepers."

The St. Laurent made eleven or twelve knots in good weather but
only about six in storms, and by the time she reached port Father
had definitely attached himself to the two Stockwells.  Flowers and
trees were in bloom when they landed.  They went to spend May in
Paris.  And in between seeing sights with his new friends Father
did what he'd come for, he went to Jourdain et Brown's shop in the
Rue Halvy and had himself measured for shirts.  He got his shirts,
socks and handkerchiefs from them most of the rest of his life.
The handkerchiefs were always plain white with white monograms on
them, but the French socks were sometimes very gay and lively in
colour for Father, who was in all other respects most conservative
in his manner of dressing.  I think he permitted himself to wear
them because he thought they were hidden.

As with his clothes, Father had trouble with his shirts in later
life, for he began to get thick in the neck, and he had to stretch
his throat violently, to get his French shirts to button.  They
were stiff white shirts, made open-front, and with stiff standing
collars attached, and he got very red in the face getting into
them, dressing for dinner at night.  They were made in such a way,
as was then the custom, that he had to pull them on over his head;
he would thrust his arms out through the sleeves and come bursting
out at the top.  The cuffs were stiff of course, and had rounded
corners.  At times when the fashion changed, cuffs would be made
with square corners for years, but not Father's.  His cuffs had
originally been rounded, and rounded they stayed.  Also, on every
one of his shirts, all his life, there was a little starched tab
with a buttonhole in it, in front, at the waistline.  The original
purpose of these was to hold up a man's drawers, but Father never
used them for that, or for anything else.  Yet, late in his life,
when he was finally driven to order some shirts in New York, and
when Kaskel objected to putting tabs on, asking what they were for,
Father said roundly that he didn't happen to remember, but he
wanted them put on just the same.

In his old age his sons used to urge him to wear soft shirts and be
comfortable, at least in the country in summer.  He finally
consented to try one.  But before putting it on he examined this
outlandish thing with a frown, and went down to breakfast very
slowly in it, feeling (he said) indecent.  By lunch-time he had
gone back upstairs again, and put on a stiff one.

On the night that Father came back from his first trip to Jourdain
et Brown's, when he went in to dinner, Levi refused to shake hands
with him.  Levi was carefully holding on to his right hand as
though it were some precious object.  He would allow no one to
touch it.  He could never use it to shake hands with common people
again, he declared, or with anyone else except monarchs, because
that hand had been shaken that very afternoon by the Emperor.  Some
fellow-officer had introduced Levi to the court at the races.

Two months later war had suddenly broken out, the Battle of Sedan
had been fought, and the Emperor was being led away as a prisoner
in the hands of the Germans.  By the following January the
Parisians were eating cats, eating horses, and hungrily paying a
franc apiece even for rats.

But nobody dreamed of these terrible things in Paris that spring.
Levi Stockwell hurried around attending to the matters of business
in which his brother Alden was interested, and their little red-
headed sister went out walking with young Mr. Day.  He and she
visited the galleries and cathedrals together, they drove together
to pay their respects to good Dr. George Parmly, and just as those
new shirts were ready and he was preparing to leave, young Mr. Day
began to discover that he had fallen in love.


Mother was only eight years old in April 1861, when the Civil War
started, but all her four brothers were older, and two of them went
to the front.  Brutus Stockwell, the youngest, was away at school,
in France.  Alden, the eldest, was tied up in business in
Cleveland, where the first shiploads of ore had begun to arrive
from the Great Lakes.  But Levi got a commission in the navy and
served under Farragut, and Norris was one of the youngest captains
of infantry to march with Sherman through Georgia.  All four
brothers were lively by nature--athletic, red-headed men.

The Stockwells lived in Ohio, the Days in New York, and in the
sixties the two families never had heard of each other.  Physically
they were rather alike.  Father was athletic and lively, and he had
red hair too, but he was only sixteen when the war began and
Grandpa didn't want him to go.  Grandpa, though he had voted for
Lincoln, had hoped that war wouldn't come, and when it did come he
was disgusted--but Grandpa was fifty.  Father wasn't disgusted, he
was interested and pleased.  He was working downtown in New York,
in Gwynne & Day's office, the firm in which his elder brother was
the junior partner.  In the evenings when he came home from
business he sat by the lamp in his bedroom and made elaborate
drawings of soldiers in one of his schoolboy notebooks.  I found it
among his papers years afterward--a thick, square, well-made old
blank-book, full of sums in arithmetic, and clippings from Civil
War newspapers, and drawings by Father of cannon and bearded

Father's patriotism however was tempered with humour, and he seems
to have been extraordinarily tickled by the fun Grandpa made of
"top-lofty" patriots.  At any rate he cut out many of the most
biting articles that Grandpa kept publishing, and pasted them in
that fat blank-book, alongside his own warlike drawings.

When Father was seventeen he decided to join the old Seventh
Regiment.  It was characteristic of him to look over the ground
before he did anything and then do it in what he considered the
very best way, and the Seventh was generally regarded as the best
in the country.  Its ranks were full, he found at the armoury, but
vacancies occurred now and then, because, as there was a shortage
of officers in the new armies, the older members of the Seventh,
even the privates, were in demand for these jobs.  It was about the
nearest thing that they had, in the sixties, to an officers'
training corps.  Father put his name down on the waiting list and
went back to his office.

Half the best young men in New York wanted to get into the Seventh.
Even the newspapers in London had spoken admiringly of the "world-
renowned Seventh Regiment."  And when President Buchanan made a
speech to them, before the election of Lincoln, he had felt so
moved that he said:  "The stout, hardy, noble and defiant look
which you exhibit shows that in the day and hour of battle you
would be at the very front."

The Seventh had tried to get to the very front when the war
started.  It had sprung to arms and gone to the defence of
Washington as soon as Sumter was fired on.  A week later, however,
when all real danger to the city was over and plenty of other
troops had arrived, the Seventh felt that its object had been
accomplished and that it might as well go back home.

At this point the government asked it to enlist for three months in
the army.  This didn't seem fair to the Seventh.  They had been
distinctly assured, when they started, that they would only be away
for two weeks.  They at once held a meeting, however, and voted on
this.  They decided to enlist as a body, and to serve thirty days.

When this thirty-day period was over, the men entrained and came
home.  "The lower classes" made unpleasant remarks about their
return, but the regiment was welcomed all the more warmly by all
the best citizens.

In 1862 when Stonewall Jackson burst into the Shenandoah Valley,
and it looked as though he might capture Washington, the government
requested the Seventh to help out again.  By this time Father had
been elected a member.  He got a leave of absence from Gwynne & Day
and went off, as a private in Company D.

Unfortunately, at least from Father's point of view, Stonewall
Jackson subsided, and instead of seeing action in the field the
Seventh was put into barracks near Baltimore.  And as though this
wasn't bad enough the Secretary of War then requested the regiment,
instead of enlisting for thirty days this time, to stay for three

Nobody liked the prospect of sitting there for three months in
barracks.  Father wrote to his mother that his company had been
sent to Mt. Clare Station where they slept in the open, and as it
was damp and cold he added, "I wish you would send me a coloured
nightcap and some segars."

It wasn't certain whether the regiment would be willing to stay on
or not.  "I don't think I could stay," Father wrote, "on account of
my business, for I don't think Gwynne and Day could very well spare
me for as long as that."

(He was seventeen, going on eighteen, and here he was already
talking this way and smoking "segars.")

In his next letter he sounds somewhat younger.

"I hope it will be over with soon," he wrote, "as I shall not stay
more than a month, but that is not saying I'm homesick for I can
get along very well.

"I received your box of things yesterday.  The cake, etc. was very
much appreciated in 'our mess' and also the lemons, with which I
made some lemonade last night and it tasted first rate as I was
very thirsty and the water is not very good, being limey, which is
not grammatically correct but still will express what I wish to
say.  About 12 o'clock night before last it commenced raining and
rained all day yesterday in perfect torrents, and most of last
night.  My tent got pretty well water-soaked and commenced leaking,
and in an hour or so the floor was as wet as thunder and we had to
huddle all together to keep dry, and even in that manner we got
very damp.  I tell you, Mother, boards are a perfect luxury, at
least I thought so when we got our board floor up last Sunday,
after sleeping two or three nights in wet straw.

"We have our tent fitted up very nicely; at the end opposite the
door is a musket rack with a shelf on top, then there are two bunks
on each side and one directly in front, in which I sleep.  The
bunks by the by consist of a knapsack for a pillow and a blanket
spread out on the floor.  From the top of the tent we have
suspended two shelves one under the other on which we put our
dishes, and in the centre we have a table, all of which we made
ourselves so we think a great deal of them on that account.

"I wish you would send some lemons, oranges, ginger snaps, cake,
and if possible a nice pie, which last luxury I have not seen since
leaving N. Y., also some segars as I have but two left, and some
sugar.  The sugar I would prefer to be ordinary brown sugar rather
than the kind you sent before.  Those shoes are splendid being
large and easy.

                              "Hoping to hear from home soon

                                   "I am

                                        "Your Afft Son."

On June 19th he wrote from Mt. Clare Station, "We are to be sworn
in this afternoon."  And lower down he added:

"Four hours later.

"We are Sworn in and I am now nothing but a 'volunteer' and a
'mudsill.'  Our company being on detached duty was sworn in by
itself, the regt being sworn in at the fort.

"There was but one man in our company who backed out and that was

"Those members who remained at home will be referred to the
Adjutant General of the State of N. Y. and will be dealt with
according to the law."

As they had agreed to enlist for three months, Father added:  "I
suppose I have lost my situation at G & D's.  Well, it is my
sacrifice in this war; but I don't think they are very patriotic
because most all the other houses who have clerks in this regt are
saving their places for them and continuing their salaries.  In
regard to my washing I get that done by women who come to the Fort
for it.  I get down to the city once in a while and take a good
bath and eat a good dinner and all together I manage to get along
very well.  Our rations are very short sometimes and occasionally
we have only bread and tea for supper.

"Today I was down to the house of Winans the Secesh with a member
of our company who is intimately acquainted with them.  His family
(Winan's) are Union but he is Secesh.  While there I had some very
nice cherries--invited to come again.  Hoping to hear from you very
soon as letters from home no matter how short are a very great
source of gratification,

                                             "I am, Your Afft Son."

Three days later his company got back to its barracks, and he found
that box of things waiting.  But:  "I was very much disappointed on
opening the box to find the pies all mouldy," he wrote, "and after
eating one or two of them on top and coming to the third or fourth
I couldn't go them and even the very niggers would not eat them and
I had to throw them away.

"In regard to the segars Father sent they were very acceptable
indeed.  I guess I shan't sell any of them as I have plenty of room
in my knapsack."  (Apparently cigars were not shared as freely as
cigarettes are to-day.)

"I have great trouble in keeping my dishes.  I have none of them
left except my plate that I brought away from N. Y.  I have lost
two or three sets of knives, forks and spoons and one cup; at
present I am using a knife without a handle, and a fork with the
tines broken half off.

"The pail which you sent the pies in comes very useful indeed, but
I wish you had sent a whole saucer instead of that broken one."

                                      "Fort Federal Hill,
                                         "Baltimore, July 15/62.

"Dear Mother,

"It is very hot indeed to-day and was yesterday.

"Yesterday we had a long battalion Drill and the Lt.-Col. only
stopped when one of the 8th Co. was sun struck and several in the
different companies dropped from the heat.  I did not go on drill
and would not on such a hot day and I expected to be put on guard
to-day as a punishment but was not however as there were too many
of my opinion.  Colonel Lefferts is absent and Lt.-Col. Price is in
command and I think over uses his power which I infer from the
drill of yesterday because if the Col. had been here he would not
have had any drill at all on such a scorching day.

"Those pickles you sent were very good indeed and came very nice
with dinner.

"Someone stole most all my cakes and those crullers and cookies you
sent and I did not get more than twenty of the whole lot and that
had to go among four of us."

Father's next letter was about Lieutenant-Colonel Price, who,
according to a contemporary record, was an obstinate little man
with a shrill voice.  He had been born in London, he was precise in
his habits and quick and erect in his movements, he wore a chin
beard with no moustache, and he was in the real-estate business.

"The boys are down on him," Father wrote.  "He either mistakes the
men he has to deal with or else wishes to show his power; but he
will have to be pretty sharp to get ahead of the boys.  To-night he
sent out some prisoners that were detained in the guard house, for
some petty offences, to haul down the flag at retreat; they hauled
down flag, rope, and everything, the consequence is that it will
take about half a day to fix it up again and unless the boys have a
mind to they won't put it up as they can't force any man to climb
up such a high pole as that and endanger his life."  (Not in

"PS.," Father added.  "Last night, the boys collected around the
Colonel's quarters and sung sonnets on Lieut.-Col. Price which were
not very complimentary to him.  I just received Father's letter.
Ask him to send me Pickwick Abroad or some good novel in paper

                                                     "Aug. 16/62.

"Dear Father,

"I received your letter to-day enclosing $4 Baltimore money.

"Yesterday I was on guard and I hope it will be the last time.
Another steamboat load of wounded soldiers came up from Ft. Munroe.
If the Irish attempt any riot in N. Y. after a fair and impartial
draft I think they had better send the whole crowd of those
concerned in the riot off to the war, whether they have been
drafted or not.

"PS.  Instead of the Waverly send the Sunday Times and please send
it Monday."

A week or two later the regiment's three months were over, and it
came back to New York, and again it was welcomed with cheers,
although not quite so warmly.

In later years, when Mother came across these old letters of
Father's, she spoke in quite a critical tone about them, much to
his surprise.  "Was that all you did, Clare?" she asked him, at
dinner one evening.  "Didn't they call out the Seventh again?"

Father said yes, the Seventh went South for about a month in 1863,
but he and a lot of others had known better that time than to
start, until they saw whether the regiment was going to barracks or
battle.  Wouldn't be worth their while to go, their idea was,
unless there was a chance to see action, and when it turned out to
be those same old Baltimore barracks, all these members stayed

Mother said that her brothers hadn't been home except when they got
a furlough, and that even after Levi was captured he had got out of
prison and gone back to his ship.

Father replied that as for Levi and Norris, there was no reason why
they shouldn't serve--they had had nothing else to do, probably.
As for himself, not only had he been busy at the office but he had
used common sense, and he had formed a poor opinion while in
barracks of the way in which wars were run.  He said that Mother
was only a woman and knew nothing about it, and furthermore that
nothing would have induced him to serve for four years unless they
had let him take charge of things and run the damned war himself.

Mother said she still couldn't understand what the Seventh kept
coming home for.  "Why didn't they stay down there and fight?"

As there didn't seem to be any answer to this that would satisfy
her, Father closed the discussion by saying that so far as he was
concerned he was not a French peasant.  He said that he was an
American, and he didn't intend to serve as a pawn to be moved
around a chess-board by anybody.  He admired the farmers of
Lexington and Concord, he said, who had swarmed out like a nestful
of hornets, done their work and gone home, and he had done exactly
the same at the first opportunity.  He seemed to feel satisfied
that he had made a very good hornet.


It took Father three years to propose, Mother once told me.  In the
first place he needed time to feel sure that he was in love.  He
had made one mistake before he ever met Mother, and one was enough.
Secondly, Mother was still a pupil at Miss Haines' School in
Gramercy Park.  He couldn't marry a schoolgirl.  The other
difficulty was that she was rich, or at least she was the sister of
one of the richest men he knew down on Wall Street.  Alden
Stockwell had a yacht and drove a four-in-hand.  He engaged a
private car when he travelled.  He had a house on Murray Hill in
New York and another in Mayfair in London.  Father called him a

Father was a prudent young man and his objection to marrying the
sister of a nabob was due to his belief that she would expect him
to provide for her more luxuriously than he possibly could, or, in
fact, than he had any intention whatever of doing.

Meanwhile Mother was being courted by other beaux, even before she
left school.  She had had six proposals of marriage by the time she
was twenty.  One was from an elderly man who had known her as a
child in Painesville, Ohio.  Another was from her Sunday School
teacher at a church in New York.  Others still were from polite
young New Yorkers who were fascinating but who frightened her by
getting drunk, and one was from a wise and handsome foreigner, a
Turco-Italian, whom she felt attached to and trusted, but with
whom, as he saw for himself, she really wasn't in love.

She wasn't in love with Father either, she thought.  He didn't
behave right at all.  As a little girl she had sat on the step by
Grandma's white picket gate and stared down the road and wished
that a carriage would come dashing up for her and whisk her away.
That wasn't at all the kind of thing, she thought, that a young man
like Father would do.

All her beaux except Father had offered her beautiful presents--so
beautiful that they were sometimes returned, they were too much to
accept.  They had all sent her flowers.  It had never occurred to
Father, apparently, to offer her anything.

She didn't know what to make of the man.  He was too independent.
Another provoking thing about him was that he didn't even pay her
nice compliments.  Yet somehow he had a kind of realness for her
that those other men lacked.

Early in 1873, something terrible happened.  Her brother Alden had
got into a financial contest with Mr. Jay Gould, and all of a
sudden Alden had found himself outflanked and defeated.  His losses
ran into millions.  He still had his home and his yacht but his
whole position was dangerous.

He had been making elaborate plans for Mother's coming-out party.
She was his only sister and he was a widower.  In spite of his
losses he generously went ahead with his programme.

It was a bitter cold night when the guests came, and Alden was a
desperate man.  But he was also a proud one.  His beautiful home
was festooned with roses till it was one mass of flowers, two
orchestras played, the conservatory was filled with bright lanterns
and trays of jewelled favours were provided as souvenirs for the
dancers.  Not so very long afterward a sheriff sat smoking in the
hall where the orchestra had played the Blue Danube Waltz, the
servants were hurrying to leave, joking over the bundles of things
they had pilfered, and tradesmen were attaching the paintings and
the chests of silver and plate.  When that day came Mother sat at
the window upstairs and saw her own little ponies with their silver-
mounted harness led away with her phaeton.

But Alden although he had been mortally wounded, financially, was
too strongly entrenched to topple over at once.  His affairs and
his assets were ramified.  His ruin took time.  Meanwhile when the
spring came, Mother was put on the train to Ohio, leaving behind
her a brother who no longer smiled and who hardly spoke but who
would not acknowledge defeat.

It was at this stage of affairs that Father asked Mother to marry

When Great-Aunt Lavinia heard the news she wrote to Grandma at once
strongly advising that she make Mother marry.  "The Days are not
rich," she said, but "they have always lived very comfortably."
But Mother wasn't sure whether she was in love or not.  She didn't
know what to do.

There was one thing she could do however, she could tell Father to
come out to Painesville.  This was a test she had imposed on each
of her suitors before taking them seriously, and it had been quite
a help to her, and perhaps to them too.  She felt that before she
made up her mind to spend her life with a man, he and she had
better see each other in her old family home.

Mother had grown up in Painesville.  It had been settled by
Vermonters and other New Englanders who had travelled in covered
wagons to get there, late in the seventeen-hundreds.  Its quiet,
broad, shady streets, its brick sidewalks, its white Colonial
houses surrounded by trees, each with its own front lawn and garden
inside of a white picket fence, made it one of the loveliest towns
in the Western Reserve.  But lovely as it was, in its own way, its
standards of comfort were simple.

The last previous suitor before Father who had come out to
Painesville was a fashionable young man from New York who was
wholly unused to small towns.  He was dismayed by the service, the
customs, and the limited fare of the town's one hotel.  He was
unprepared to have people stop and stare at him as he walked down
the street.  Being a mercurial youth he had become so depressed by
all this that he had got drunk, very drunk, in an effort to cheer
himself up.  This became known, like everything else in
Painesville, and it had created a scandal.

When he was sober again and realized what a sensation he'd caused
he apologised to Grandma and Mother for having "disgraced" them.
Grandma said he had better apologise to himself for he hadn't
disgraced her and couldn't.  He took the next train back to New
York and immediately got drunk again.

Mother didn't quite dare to marry a victim of drink but she always
kept a tender spot in her heart for this bewildered young man.  She
followed his later career half-maternally, and she even kept track
of his children.  His weakness for drink turned out to be
permanent, but it was more or less harmless too.  He was so gay and
sociable by nature that everyone liked him.  His only trouble was
that he was easily discouraged, and that he had no head for liquor.

When Father arrived in Painesville he behaved very differently from
any of his predecessors.  Whatever their private opinions of
Painesville had been they had been much too guarded to express
them.  Father expressed his at once.  He told Mother and he told
Grandpa and Grandma Stockwell just what he thought of it.  He said
it was "a damned hole."

The decent people of Painesville regarded it as needlessly profane
to say damn, but in other respects they had no great objection to
Father's frankness.  In fact, it amused them.  He seemed to be a
clean, energetic, likeable-looking young fellow, and all the time
that he was in Painesville he did not "touch a drop."  He told
Mother that this was merely because there was nothing in the place
fit to drink, but the rest of the town didn't know this, and his
sobriety and vigour impressed them.  It even impressed Grandma a
little.  She and Father didn't get on well--then or later--but she
had nothing against him, she said.

He said he wouldn't leave until Mother had promised to marry him,
and he urged her to hurry.  In his next sentence she found that
although part of this was ardour, the rest was impatience--he
wanted to get out of Painesville.  He said he should think that
she'd want to get out of there too.

They were married in New York in June.  It was a small quiet
wedding--only about a dozen of the family were present.  It was
held in Alden's big house.  Alden was grave.  He hadn't taken to
Father.  Immediately after the ceremony the young bride and groom
sailed for France.

It had all been so sudden, just at the last, that Mother felt
shaken up.  The weather was rough.  She took to her berth and she
stayed there; and when Father offered to bring her anything to eat
she begged him not to, and moaned.

Father could not understand this.  He had an excellent appetite
himself and he found the weather exhilarating.  He urged Mother to
get up on deck.  She'd be all right in an hour or two, he assured
her, if she'd "make an effort."  When this had no effect he went
off and filled his lungs with sea air and ate three hearty meals a
day and felt very sorry for Mother.  He kept trying to think of
something that he could do for her to make her well again.  One
afternoon, ruddy and glowing, he opened their cabin door.

"Vinnie?" he said.  "Aren't you feeling better yet?  I wish you'd
been with me at lunch."

No answer.

"I had two helpings of salmon," he added, to tempt her, "and the
sauce Tartare was delicious."

A vivid but most unwelcome picture sprang up in Mother's mind of
that thick, too thick and greenish sauce oozing over a plate.  She
pulled herself together and begged him faintly, "Don't talk to me,
darling, just now."

He returned to the upper deck, mystified, and smoked a cigar.

It was nearly a year, Mother once told me, before she could bear to
eat salmon, with or without sauce Tartare.

Neither of them had been in Paris since the German armies had come
and gone again.  They found it was crowded.  The Shah of Persia and
his glittering court were the guests of the government, a whole
hotel had been reserved for their use and the city was being given
over to illuminations and ftes.  (That hotel had to be specially
fumigated afterward, Father used to observe, when Mother was
describing the splendour of Paris that season.)  Every now and
then, as they were walking along, there was the sound of galloping
horses and the Shah's outriders dashed down the street, followed by
the Shah himself in his great open carriage and the music of
trumpets.  Mother was thrilled.  But Father said it would take more
than a Shah to thrill him.  He said the Shah was a nuisance.

One night when there was to be a grand display of fireworks in the
Bois, Mother insisted on going, so after dinner they drove out
there in their evening clothes, and both of them enjoyed it
immensely until it came time to go back and they found that they
could not get a carriage.  Even then it was all right at first,
walking along the Champs Elyses, but Mother's evening slippers
were so thin, and their hotel, the Grand Hotel de l'Athne, was so
far away, that Father had to keep stopping to let Mother rest, and
at last when the slippers had given out completely and he found
that she was trying to keep up with him in her stocking feet he had
to carry her.  Mother was so tired by this time that she willingly
let him hoping he would feel that bearing his young bride in his
arms was romantic, and possibly he might have thought so if the
distance had only been less.  But as he went on and on she didn't
get any lighter and Father began to remember that he hadn't wanted
to come.  He felt sorry for Mother and he loved her, but he could
not keep wholly still, and as he staggered on, stray passers-by
heard him denouncing the Shah.

It was to be over twenty years before they ever went to Europe
again.  When they got back late in the summer and Mother went on
for a visit to Newport, where Alden, who was braving things out to
the last, had taken a house for the season, a telegram from Father
suddenly summoned Mother back to New York.  The great panic of 1873
had started, the postwar prosperity of America was crashing in
ruins, nobody knew or could guess what was coming, and he wanted
her there at his side.


It was a frosty Sunday in November, and Father and Mother were
taking me to Grandpa Day's for a one o'clock dinner.  As we sat in
the horse-car, Mother was talking about Grandma's interest in
spirit messages.  She said it seemed to crop up again every few
years.  Father pished violently and said that Grandpa ought not to
allow it.

At dinner, Grandma managed to feed me so much that Father said I
would burst.  Even Grandpa, who seldom bothered to interfere in
such matters, laid down his knife and fork and told us about his
Aunt Martin, whose idea of bringing up a boy was to watch him at
table and "pop a doughnut in his mouth every time the boy gaped."
I asked him earnestly where Aunt Martin lived.  They all laughed
except Grandma, who whispered to me, "There isn't any such person,
dear," and gave me some more pumpkin pie.

After dinner, we sat around the coal fire.  It took the chill off
the high-ceilinged room, and its red, steady glow felt delicious to
me as I curled up on the carpet.  The wind slapped the vines
against the tall windows.  Grandma and Father talked quietly
together, and Father patted her shoulder affectionately and told
her about all his plans.

When he had finished, Grandma started to talk about spiritualism.
Mother caught her eye and pointed at me and shook her head, but
Grandma went mildly on.  She wouldn't speak of any experiences, she
told Mother reassuringly.  She just wanted to say how happy it had
made Mrs. Perkins.

In a moment or two, Father stood up.  The good-byes began, and we
soon were on our way home, walking up the long Madison Avenue hill.

There was a good deal of excited arguing in those years about
whether spirits could talk to us.  Grandma, of course, didn't
argue, but she felt quite sure it was true.  Her only daughter,
little Mary Day, had died very young, and when spiritualistic
mediums said that the dead were not only alive but eager to speak
to the living, it made Grandma feel life was beautiful.

Naturally, she sometimes desired to share this belief.  She knew
enough not to try to share it with Grandpa or with her grown-up
sons, but one time when two of Uncle Hal's children were staying
with her, Grandma told Will, the elder, about how the spirits
watched over us.  She felt that it was a sweet and comfortable
thought to put in his mind.  Will didn't take it that way.  He was
not romantic about things, he was a matter-of-fact, careful boy,
six years old, and when he was told that spirits were floating
around him, even when he was in bed at night, he felt very uneasy.
One evening in particular, Grandma took Will into her shadowy
bedroom, where her friend old Mrs. Caister was sitting sewing,
under the dim little gas-jet, and read aloud many strange
happenings from a spiritualistic magazine, the Banner of Light.
This upset Will so much that when he went to bed he made Mrs.
Caister stay with him and sit on the stairs just outside his door
until he was asleep.

Grandma was so serene and quiet minded herself that she sometimes
forgot others weren't.  She didn't tell Will's sister, Ella about
the spirits--Ella was only three--but she told her about Jack the
Giant Killer so vividly that Ella began having nightmares.

With all her serenity Grandma was shy in some ways, or reserved,
and in spite of her interest in spiritualism she didn't quite like
to go to a medium.  She was so trusting, too, that it seemed
needless.  She felt that if a few of her old friends and herself
sat around a table in silence, and after a while began asking
questions, some friendly spirit would probably come in the room and
get under that table, and rap a few replies on it for them.  One
rap for yes, two for no.

She decided that the best time and place were in the afternoon in
the dining-room, where she had just the right table.  The only
trouble was that that was where Grandpa took his afternoon naps, on
a small leather sofa.  When she spoke to him about it, however, and
told him her plans, he was quite accommodating for once.  He didn't
offer to move out--he liked that special sofa--but he said it was a
large room and if they didn't talk too loud she and her friends
wouldn't disturb him.  So a day was set for their sance.

The ladies arrived one by one in their long capes or India shawls,
and their ribbony bonnets, and stood talking with Grandma and Mrs.
Caister in the hall a few minutes.  Then they came softly into the
dining-room.  Grandpa's sofa was over in the far corner, and there
he lay, with his handkerchief over his face, gently snoring.

The ladies sat down at the table.  The pleasant old room was quiet.
Outside the tall windows were the shady green leaves of the ivy.
Esther was singing in the back yard as she hung up the wash.

After a while, when the ladies had got used to sitting there, and
felt reassured by Mr. Day's peaceful snores on the sofa, one of
them whispered a question to the spirits.  She waited and waited
for an answer, but the table was silent.  Another lady tried, and
then another.  They had no success.

Then, while they were whispering to each other about it, they all
heard a faint rap.  Mrs. Adams was so frightened she wanted to run
from the room.  Some of the others were hungrily curious.  They all
were excited.  Mrs. Perkins said "Sh-h-h," and asked the table
whether her sister had been sorry to die.  The table was still.
They looked disappointedly at each other.  Mrs. Perkins frowned and
asked the same thing again.  After a long minute of silence, they
heard two feeble raps.

From this on, they could hardly contain themselves.  Questions were
fired at the table helter-skelter, the raps got louder and louder,
and more imperious.  The only disturbing feature was that they
couldn't quite understand some of the tidings they got.

Old Miss Dykeman had a question to put to her Uncle Jack.  He had
been a hearty old reprobate who had led his wife quite a life, and
after they both died Miss Dykeman used to wonder about his probable
fate.  "Uncle Jack, are you happy?" she sadly whispered.

The table rapped a loud "Yes."

The ladies made little murmurs of surprise.  Miss Dykeman looked

"Try his wife," said Mrs. Perkins.

Miss Dykeman got out her smelling salts.  "Are you in heaven, Aunt
Minna?" she asked.

According to the table, Aunt Minna was in heaven, yes, and was very
happy indeed, but in reply to another chance question she said
Uncle Jack wasn't there.

"But he said he was happy," Mrs. Perkins snorted.  "Ask him again."

Uncle Jack again announced with a bang that he was perfectly happy.
Mrs. Perkins asked him point-blank if he was in hell.  He said yes
to that too.  This led to so much discussion among the ladies that
that particular sance broke up.

At the next, they got no answers at all.  The conditions had seemed
better that day, because they had come early, and when Grandpa
appeared he found they had moved his sofa into the next room.  But
though they kept their hands a long time on the table, there wasn't
even one rap.

The following week, however, more than made up for this failure.
Mrs. Adams and Miss Dykeman had given up, and Mrs. Beecher was
invited instead.  Grandma had asked Grandpa in advance to move into
the parlour once more, for his nap, and he had said that he would
be glad to if that Mrs. Beecher was coming.  She was a hard-eyed
old lady who was very proud of her family.  When she at last
condescended to ask the table about them on this occasion, however,
after listening for a long time to the happy raps about other
persons, she found to her horror that practically all her own
departed dear ones had gone to the wrong place.

Then, one Sunday, Uncle Hal brought Will and Ella to dinner, and
Grandma told him he needn't disbelieve any longer that people "on
the other side" sent us messages, because she and her friends had
received some on that very table.  Uncle Hal looked at the table,
but said he still didn't believe it.

Grandma offered to show him how simple and easy it was.  They drew
up their chairs, Will and Ella and all, and sat down.  Uncle Hal
looked under the table first.  He couldn't see anything, but he
kept peering around underneath, breathing heavily because he was
stout.  He didn't suspect Grandma, of course, but he knew what
Grandpa was like.

Grandma waited patiently.  Uncle Hal had to give up.  He frowned in
silence, perplexed and still suspicious.  The others put their
hands on the table.  He put his there too.  Then his eye caught
sight of a thread on the carpet.  He got down on his hands and
knees again and discovered that this thread ran up behind one of
the legs and then along the under side of the table to the centre,
where a finger of a kid glove was hanging.  There was a small
leaden weight inside this finger, and any pull on the thread made
it rap.

Uncle Hal chuckled and pursued the other end of the thread.  It led
under the sliding doors into the parlour.  He opened them and went
in, thread in hand.  Grandpa looked up at him disgustedly.  "That's
it, Hal," he growled.  "Now you've done it.  Spoiled the whole

He stopped speaking, abruptly.  He saw Grandma coming in through
the doorway.

Grandma didn't say anything.  She took spiritualism very seriously,
but her kind of serenity was founded on great goodwill to everyone.
She turned to where Grandpa lay on his sofa, chagrined and a little
bit sheepish, and surveyed him a moment.  He raised his eyes to
hers, and they presently exchanged an affectionate smile.  Then he
slowly heaved himself up and threw his thread in the fire.


Mother was sure that her four boys were the best little boys in New
York.  Other people didn't always agree with her, but usually she
didn't know it.  Little May Lewis who lived around the corner in
Forty-eighth Street, for instance, had a nurse who used to warn her
to keep away from those red-headed Day boys.  If Mother had ever
heard of this she wouldn't have waited a second, she'd have pinned
a big hat on her own wavy red hair right away, and grabbed up her
muff and her gloves, and gone racing around to the Lewises to tell
them that their nurse was quite wrong, and that her boys never did
anything they shouldn't, or gave her a moment's uneasiness.  And
she'd have burst in upon them so impetuously, in her haste to
defend us, and spoken so fast and so vehemently, that it would have
been impossible for any of them to calm her down.  In fact, when
polite persons attempted to do this, so as to smooth over an
awkward situation, it added to Mother's annoyance.  She felt that
they were trying to get away from the point she was making.  She
said they were "just talking nonsense."  But nobody ever had time
enough anyhow to calm Mother down.  She would rush to our defence,
stun the enemy, and hurry straight out.

Not that May Lewis's nurse was our enemy, she was merely more
realistic than Mother, and she probably had seen enough of the way
that we played on the streets to know that a little girl had better
go and play somewhere else.  Mother's firm belief, however, was
that we never really meant to be rough, and that anyway we were
privileged characters because we were boys.  All males, Mother
instinctively felt, were a special kind of creation.  They owed
certain duties to women and girls, but they also had certain

I used to feel that it was kind of inconvenient to have her be so
very proud of us.  Somehow it seemed to make it obligatory on us
not to disappoint Mother--or at least not to fail her any oftener
than we could help.  But it also implanted in us such a high
opinion of ourselves, as good boys, that when we did get into
trouble it appeared to us to be accidental.  Accidental and
therefore excusable.  We were ready to be sincerely repentant but
we didn't expect to be punished.

Father's attitude was different from Mother's.  He often remarked,
"I know boys."  His standards of behaviour for children were as
high as hers were, or higher, and he was only too ready to believe
that we hadn't lived up to them.  At such times it did us very
little good to explain that we had got into this or that scrape "by
accident."  "Of course it was 'by accident,'" he would impatiently
roar, as though it was unthinkable that any boy could mean to defy
him, "but it's your business to see to it that accidents of this
sort don't happen.  And a spanking will probably assist you to bear
that in mind."

"Oh, not this time, Clare," Mother begged him one Saturday, when he
was saying this to me.  "Clarence didn't really mean to knock off
the cabman's hat with his little snowball."  I fully agreed with
her.  I had hoped to do it, but when I succeeded I had been
immensely surprised--so surprised that I hadn't been quick enough
to make good my retreat.  Also I hadn't known that Father was
inside the cab.  I didn't feel more than half guilty.  But Father
said again, "I know boys," and proceeded to give me a spanking.

When he had finished he went down to the club for an afternoon game
of billiards, and as the snow had now turned to rain I went up to
the nursery.  It was Delia's afternoon out--she was Harold's nurse--
so Mother told us three older boys to let Harold play with us, and
see that he didn't get hurt.

There was always some unfinished game going on in the nursery.  We
kept our wooden blocks and marbles and our lead soldiers there, and
the wars they were in never stopped.  In a very few minutes we were
so busy that I had forgotten my spanking.  Harold, being too small
to fight, had been put up on the bed.  He held a piece of an old
curtain rod up to his eye, as a spy-glass, and with this he swept
the horizon and chanted to himself "Ship ahoy!"  We others were
laying in a supply of ammunition for a battle at sea.

We had invented a man called Captain Sinkem, a lean privateer, and
he had been ravaging the wooden-block coasts of the nursery for
days.  He had originally belonged to a lead soldier regiment of
Turkish Zouaves.  His face had been battered in long ago, giving
him a sinister look, and his baggy red trousers added to his
piratical air.  His ships had been made by ourselves out of old
Youth's Companions, on the model of the famous Civil War ironclad
Merrimac.  There was a picture of her in our story-books, looking
evil and strong, with sloping bulwarks, a thick covered top, and a
ram at her bow.  Her simple triangular shape made her easy to copy,
at least in our hasty style.  We could build an ironclad in ten
minutes.  Some numbers of the Youth's Companion were thicker than
others, but even the thin ones, when folded up, made pretty good
warships, and ships that had hulls of many layers were almost
impregnable.  It was no wonder that Captain Sinkem had done a lot
of ravaging in them.  He had ravaged one coast so hard that he had
bumped it all out of shape.

We always played fair in our games between good men and bad, though
it really was much more exciting when the wicked man won.  Of
course he had to be conquered in the end and die a horrible death,
but somehow a game began to get dull as soon as the good man had

In this particular game, after vigorously acting for Sinkem, we had
manned the forts and fired all our marbles at his ships.  But in
vain.  They had merely bounced off the thick paper bulwarks.  At
each bounce Captain Sinkem and his pirates had cheered wildly

Now however a new character, Admiral Harry Broadside, had built
some ironclads too, and with these he had fended off Sinkem's
ships.  This was all very well as far as it went but it didn't
content Admiral Harry.  He was an officer of our little lead Life
Guards, and he was dressed in jack-boots and white pants and a tall
bearskin hat, and his martial ambitions were correspondingly
haughty and fierce.  His one idea was how to destroy Sinkem's fleet

What he needed for this was new ammunition of a more deadly type.
We suddenly remembered a box of old rocks, which we had been told
not to play with.  Mother loved to have us have a good time, and
she never interfered with our fun, but she had warned us that if we
threw those awful rocks at our soldiers we'd hurt ourselves with
them.  And Father had said indignantly that they were his old
geology specimens, and that they weren't meant to be thrown around
at all.  He said that we ought to study them.  He had collected
them one at a time, in his boyhood, he told us, some of them from
way up in Harlem, and some in the hills where the City afterward
built Central Park, and he described how he had scrambled down
gullies and dug in the slopes, and where he had found the purplish
chunk of pudding stone and the silvery mica, and the commonplace-
looking lumps of feldspar and hornstone and quartz.

If we had listened to him we might have learned something about the
earth after all, to add to our school education, which was
concerned almost solely with the history and the tongues of
mankind.  And as the history of mankind, in our school books,
consisted chiefly of wars, all we wanted to use Father's specimens
for was ammunition.

We got the box down from the closet and divided the rocks into
piles.  Now we could have a fine battle.  The only crews we had to
man our vessels were our lead soldiers of course, and they
certainly made peculiar-looking sailors, but they were better than
nothing.  We marched them aboard in their helmets and plumes and
red jackets.  Harold tried to get off the bed to help us but we
forcibly put him back on it, and gave him a trumpet to console him
and made him Ship's Bugler.  He tooted a shrill croaky blast and
the fleets put to sea--that is to say Admiral Broadside's vessels
sailed away from the fireplace and Captain Sinkem's came out from
under the bed and dashed around the floor rapidly, each fleet
blowing sirens and loud warning blasts at the enemy, and the two
opposing commanders shouting sneers and taunts and threats at each
other.  Then amid cheers and roars from the crews, and yells of
"Boom!" with each shot we stood off and threw Father's rocks as
hard as we could at the ironclads.

They did far more damage than our marbles.  Two ships were knocked
over.  The thin ones soon began to look battered.  Harry
Broadside's big flagship, the Disdain, had only a few rips and
dents, but Sinkem's was covered with scars.  It looked as though he
was now faced with death and destruction at last.  I called upon
him to surrender--I was acting for Admiral Harry--and George, who
was acting for the Captain, began to look worried.  He picked up
the pudding stone rock, which was especially jagged, and hurled it
despairingly at my flagship.  It struck square on a gap in a crease
which had been loosened already, and the next moment the Disdain
opened up and spilled her crew into the sea.

In the midst of the terrific excitement that this bull's eye
created, while George was dancing around and shouting, "Surrender!
Surrender yourself!" and while poor Admiral Harry was trying to
swim to some other vessel, we became aware that Bridget the
waitress was there in the room.

"Your mother wants you," she said.

"Oh Bridget!  Not NOW?  She doesn't want us this very minute!"

"Yes, this very minute, and ten minutes before this by rights,"
Bridget said.  "Haven't I been standing here telling you so at the
top of me voice, and you boys racketty-banging around on the floor
with them rocks, and screeching as if you'd have yourselves killed
without the police in to quiet you!"

We knew we had done wrong to take Father's rocks out of the closet.
Now we'd got into trouble.  We pulled Harold off the bed in silence
and started downstairs.

"Alanna machree!  Would ye look at ye's!" Bridget expostulated.
"Wash them dirty hands first.  You can't go in the parlour like
that.  Come ye here, Har'l, till I run the comb through your hair
before you go down to the quality."

"The parlour?" we shouted.  "Then it's callers!"

"Sairtainly it's callers," said Bridget.  "A lady with a grand,
shiny bird in her hat, you'd think it was a duck by the size of it,
and her old uncle with her."

We were immensely relieved.  If it had been an order to stop
throwing the rocks, that would have been a calamity; but callers,
though of course they were a nuisance, would only take a few

It must be a terrible thing for modern children when a caller
arrives, and when they have to sit down in the sitting-room and be
introduced, and the visitor tries to make conversation and they are
supposed to be social.  There was never anything as artificial as
that in the eighties.  Not in our home at least.  Children were
children, and grown-ups were grown-ups, and the two weren't
expected to mix.  We boys liked our uncles and aunts and a few old
family friends, but we looked upon other grown-ups as foreigners.
And they felt that same way toward us.

There was nothing to regret about this that I can see.  Quite the
contrary.  The Victorians had too much common sense to converse
with children as though they were human beings.  If Mother had had
a little daughter she might have wished her to be social, but she
didn't really expect that of us.  She understood little boys.

On the other hand she did want her friends to have a look at us
sometimes.  She wanted to show us off to them and let them see what
we were like.  So when we were sent for, we generally had to speak

Mother had had to speak pieces herself in her childhood.  It was
the conventional thing to do in a parlour.  It was like shaking
hands.  What the feelings of the visitors were about it I do not
know, but it somehow solved the problem of how to get children in
and then out again.  Mother had recited so well at her school that
she had been given a book as a prize, Legends of the Madonna, by
Mrs. Jameson.  (It had been presented to her "for perfect
recitations in poetry, with the affectionate wishes of H. B.
Haines, 10 Gramercy Park, 1870.")  It was a nice-looking little
volume, published by Ticknor and Fields, but when I looked it over
it seemed rather soulful and dull, and judging by its very new
appearance Mother never had read it.

George didn't like speaking pieces.  He looked worried as we
started downstairs.  I didn't mind because it never took long and
we were always allowed to go afterward.  We slid down the banisters
and landed in a bunch in the hall.

The parlour was a long narrow room.  It was full of plush chairs
and ottomans and vases and roomy glass cabinets--a good room for
boys to keep out of.  We opened the sliding doors and shoved and
pushed each other against the dark curtains, struggling to see
which of us could achieve safety by going in last.  Any boy who
wasn't last usually got tweaked from behind as he entered.  This
made him fairly spring into the room, which was apt to flatter the

This afternoon one of us must have pinched Harold a trifle too
hard.  He not only leapt convulsively through the curtains but went
in with a shriek.  "Hush darling," said Mother, "this is Miss
Wilkinson.  Say how-do-you-do to her."  We lined up in a row and
were all introduced one by one, and--prompted by Mother--we told
Miss Wilkinson our names and our ages.

Remembering what Bridget had said I stared at the bird in Miss
Wilkinson's hat.  There were no birds around in the streets except
sparrows in winter, but ladies' hats more than made up for it.  I
had never seen a blue jay in the open, or a bob-white or a swallow,
but I saw plenty of them on ladies.  Miss Wilkinson's specimen was
even more interesting.  He was a large bird with prominent eyes,
and a ruby red breast like a robin's.  His long wings stood stiffly
out and his attitude was that of flight--he looked as though he was
about to swoop at the carpet and snatch up a fish--yet in spite of
all this he was reposing in a pink curlicue nest, made of some
light filmy stuff, such as chiffon.  I wondered if there were eggs
in it.  It would have been hard to find out, for the nest
constituted the crown of Miss Wilkinson's hat, and the heads of
several gold hat-pins projected from each side and in front.
Sticking out in the air, opposite to the heads, were the pins'
sharp, gleaming points, one of them so long that I thought it might
skewer George in the eye.  He was nearest.

"Clarence will speak his piece first," Mother said.  She looked at
me encouragingly and I saw her lips form the first words.  I took a
long breath and plunged in.

     "On Linden, when the sun was low,
     All bloodless lay the untrodden snow;
     And dark as winter was the flow
       Of Iser, rolling rapidly."

In retrospect this selection of mine seems gruesome, but I never
thought of it that way.  I had chosen it because there was a
picture in the book of bearded soldiers in helmets, with black,
flowing plumes, marching at night through the snow, waving their
sabres, blowing trumpets, and lighting their way with flaming
torches, very splendid and ominous.

     "Then shook the hills with thunder riven;
     Then rushed the steeds to battle driven,
     And, louder than the bolts of heaven,
       Far flashed the red artillery."

All up and down Madison Avenue and in the sidestreets, other little
boys of the eighties were either reciting poems about battles or
playing with their toy soldiers--even Willie Smith who lived on the
corner and who was much the fattest and most phlegmatic boy whom we
knew.  Wars seemed to be done with in those days, except small ones
in faraway places which didn't half count, and we thought of them
only as romantic affairs, like Ivanhoe's tournaments.

The nearer I came to the doleful end of Hohenlinden the more
cheerful I got.  Mother was forming each word for me too.  I
recited the final stanza contentedly:

     "Few, few shall part where many meet!
     The snow shall be their winding sheet;
     And every turf beneath their feet
       Shall be a soldier's sepulchre."

Miss Wilkinson's uncle stroked his moustache and said "Excellent,
excellent," but Mother shook her head at him saying "Sh--sh," and
motioning for George to speak next.  His favourite was the Charge
of the Light Brigade.  Unfortunately, however, he couldn't
pronounce the letter L properly.  When it came at the beginning of
a word he always said J instead.  This rather changed Tennyson's
opening and amazed Miss Wilkinson's uncle, for George looked
earnestly at him with his honest blue eyes and began:

     "Half a jig, half a jig,
     Half a jig, onward,
     All in the valley of death
     Rode the Six Hundred."

I forget what came next.  It was Blenheim I think.  At any rate all
of our pieces were about death and battles.  Miss Wilkinson smiled
in a vacant way and preened herself busily.  Her hands fluttered
about, as she smoothed her flowing velvet skirt of rich purple, and
adjusted her veil, and poked at the bird in her hat, and felt a
leaf on our rubber tree.

Everybody brightened up a little when Harold's turn came.  He was
last, he was chubby, and, as Mother explained, he was too small yet
to say a whole poem.  Mother smiled lovingly at him as he knitted
his brows and began:

     "Forever float zat standard sheet
     Where bweezy fo-bit--"

"'Where breathes the foe but falls,' darling," Mother said softly.

Harold reddened with embarrassment at being called "darling" in
public, and set his fat little jaws with an obstinate look.  "Where
bweezy," he repeated:

     "Where bweezy fo-git falls afore us,
     Wif fweedom's soil beneath our feet,
     An' fweedom's banner stweaming o'er us."

He bowed with a jerk.  The performance was over.  "Such good boys,"
Mother said to Miss Wilkinson proudly, as we started out.  We tried
not to run as we left, but we went through the door in a second,
and in the hall there was such a rush for the stairs that Harold
fell down with a bang, and was kicked in the head.

Whenever Harold got hurt, which was perhaps rather often, the
important thing to do was to choke him.  If we had tried to comfort
him first, his wails would have brought Mother up on the run.  We
also had found by experience that it was a great mistake to choke
him in silence, because that silence itself would make Mother
suspect that something dreadful had happened.  Consequently, while
choking our indignant little brother, we had to make joyful sounds.
This must often have given us the appearance of peculiarly hard-
hearted fiends.

On this occasion, Harold was instantly jerked to his feet with our
hands over his mouth.  The other two boys began whistling and
cheering, in a loud nervous manner, and while Harold was struggling
for breath I shook my fist at him fiercely.

"But you knocked me down," he managed to whisper.

"All right," I said, "I'll let you hit me back.  I'll let you knock
me down, honest, no fooling.  You can do it the minute we get to
the top of the stairs."

"But I'm hurt in two places," Harold sobbed, rubbing his head, with
the tears running down his round cheeks.

"Well, if you'll shut up about it," I said, "you can knock George
down too."

"What ARE you doing, boys?" Mother called from the parlour in
horror.  "You aren't knocking each other down, are you!"  We heard
her start for the door.

"We were just fooling, Mamma," George explained reassuringly, as
she came through the curtains.  Harold was on his way upstairs by
that time.  He was in a hurry to get to the landing where he was to
have his revenge.

Mother stood there a moment, but there didn't seem to be anything
wrong.  She said that we mustn't disappoint her like this and make
a bad impression on everybody by being so noisy and rough when we
were leaving the parlour.

"No'm," we said.  "We didn't mean to."

"And if any boy hits one of his brothers," she said, "I'll have to
have Papa spank him."

Dead silence.

She went back in to those tiresome callers.  It was all their
fault, really, we felt.  The second she disappeared through the
curtains, we dashed up the stairs.

At the landing we stopped.  Harold was waiting for us, eagerly
shouting, "You promised, you promised!"  I let him knock me down,
as agreed.  His eyes shone as he punched away at me with his soft
little fists.

"Now it's your turn, George," I ordered.

George wasn't at all in the mood to be knocked down however.  He
said that the last time he had allowed Harold to do it, Harold had
given him a kick on the shins.  We were wrangling about this, when
Mother again came to the door.

"Why, boys," she said to us reproachfully.

We rushed off to the nursery.

As we slammed the door shut, we forgot all about the callers and
Mother and everything else, Harold even forgot about hitting
George, in our haste to get back to our battle.  There was Admiral
Harry, in his jack-boots, bobbing around in the waves, and Captain
Sinkem's ships were more than ready to go on with their fire.
Harold sprang up on the bed and sounded a bugle call, George
shouted "Surrender!" and the cannonade began again at the exact
point where it had left off.

Our battles with toy soldiers and paper ships were more real to us
and much more exciting than the warlike poems we recited.  Those
didn't seem gory or horrible to us.  They seemed almost tame by
contrast.  Besides the former were ancient history while the latter
were of To-day.


Like most children I was taught to admire high ideals in my
boyhood.  These teachings were well-meant of course, and I took
them all in good part.  I didn't really admire some of the ideals
much, and I made no attempt to live up to them, but at least I
regarded such things with a wary respect.  Though they sounded to
me like standards meant for much better boys than myself, I saw
that I too would have to adopt them if I ever became really good,
and consequently it interested me to hear about them and filled me
with awe--much the same kind of awe I felt at ghost stories, only
more far-off and solemn.  Meantime they brought home to me the
acute disadvantage of goodness, and kept me content with not having
any very great moral ambitions.

These doses of high ideals came in various ways, each one
unexpected.  Sometimes they were administered to me in the form of
little talks by my teachers.  Sometimes they appeared in a book.
On my seventh birthday, for instance, old Mrs. Caister gave me The
Christmas Child by Mrs. Molesworth.  This child's name was Ted, and
his history was given at great length from his babyhood to the day
he was twelve.  I read it all the way through, because a book was a
book, but although this one had bright red covers and pictures it
was kind of depressing.

It began with a lot of Ted's cunning baby talk.  I had to skip some
of that.  I went on as fast as I could till Ted was seven, like me.
But at this point I ran into a long account of his unselfish acts,
and about how he joined in "the merry games" of the sons of his
father's employees, all of whom respectfully addressed him as
"Master Ted" in their play; and then about his going away to school
and becoming "a first-rate croquet-player."

According to Mrs. Molesworth, Ted was always "a boy of nice
feelings.  Not rough and knockabout in his ways like many
schoolboys," she added, in what I felt was a reproving tone,
directed at me.  He did have a fight with another boy named Rex in
one chapter, but he felt it was "so horrid" to hit Rex that he
ended by kissing him.

Ted worried about this kissing business afterward and went to his
mother.  "Was that unmanly, Mother?" he asked.

"His mother drew him toward her and looked lovingly into his
anxious face.  'Unmanly, my boy?  No, indeed,' she said.  'Kindness
and goodness can never be unmanly.'  And Ted went off to bed."

I was disturbed by this incident.  It made goodness seem more
unnatural to me than ever.  But it deeply moved Mrs. Molesworth.
She admired Ted so much that she kept saying so, in little asides
to her readers.  "I think he had a sweet and brave spirit, don't
you, children?" she said in this chapter; and she went on to
describe how considerate and patient he was, and how "he was NEVER
guilty of any rudeness."  It was plain that Ted had all the

Ted died at the end of the book, just before his twelfth birthday.
Very good children often did die on the last page, I had noticed.
They never had anything violent or awful the matter with them, they
just took sick and expired very gently of some vague and unnamed

"I would have liked to tell how Ted grew up into such a man as his
boyhood promised," Mrs. Molesworth explained.  "But, dears, I
CANNOT tell you this, for it was not to be so."

I didn't like books with unhappy endings, but I didn't mind this
one.  It seemed sad, in a way, and yet suitable.  I regarded it
with much the same feelings that I later regarded Greek tragedies.
The Olympian deities in their hate stacked the cards against
Oedipus, and Jehovah and Mrs. Molesworth did the same thing to Ted,
out of love.  It was a comfort to feel that Heaven neither loved
nor hated me yet, and I earnestly hoped that it never would.  I
felt pretty sure that I could get along all right by myself, if
Heaven would ignore my existence and let me alone.

There were very few books of this pious sort on our nursery
shelves.  Piety of an extreme type was becoming old-fashioned.  It
was all right but it really didn't seem modern.  People talked more
about true nobility and noble deeds in the eighties.  The
atmosphere that my generation grew up in was thick with nobility.
Not the atmosphere of our homes or the streets of course, but that
of our books.

When I was eight or nine I was given a book called Noble Boys.  It
was by the editor of Peter Parley's Annual, a gentleman named
William Martin.  Mr. Martin, looking around him in the eighties at
the Victorian era, felt a distressing lack of something in the air.
He was too up to date to go back to piety, but he had so much heart
that even that era seemed sometimes to give him a chill.  "It is
too much the custom in this cool, matter-of-fact age," he said, "to
ignore the sympathies and affections."  He felt that most books for
boys were not elevated enough, and his purpose in compiling his
volume was to remedy this.

He started off well, I thought.  The first noble boy whose history
he brought forward for my emulation was Cyrus of Persia, the great
warrior, son of Cambyses.  Among the others were Alexander of
Macedon, the Chevalier Bayard, Sir Philip Sidney, the Iron Duke of
Wellington, and Garibaldi.  All Mr. Martin's selections, he said,
were chosen as examples of "the spirit of bold and hazardous
enterprise."  He was very English about it, however.  He detested
some of the Scots.  I sat down to read his book right after
breakfast on Christmas, and by New Year's I had finished Garibaldi
and reached the last of his bold heroes, the late respected Prince

"It is a bright summer's morning," Mr. Martin's story of Albert
began, "and the sunlight gilds the rich foliage of the stately
trees which encircle the residence of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg. . . .
Since the castle clock has struck three there have been anxious
watchers within the Schloss, and grooms with horses ready saddled
stand in the courtyard.  Voices speak in a whisper, but all is
hopeful. . . .  The clock strikes six, and the firing of guns
announces the birth of a Prince."

After thus recording Prince Albert's impressive arrival on earth,
Mr. Martin went on to say that "ere he had reached his second year,
his grandmother wrote to her daughter, the mother of our beloved
Queen:  'Little Alberinchen, with his large blue eyes and dimpled
cheeks, is bewitching, forward, and quick as a weasel.'"  On and on
through this noble youth's infancy I ploughed step by step.  Mr.
Martin remarked that the Prince was in some ways very like Sir
Philip Sidney.  Sidney was a poet, and Prince Albert, he said, was
quite fond of music.

Up to this point, although the Prince had done well in his studies,
he hadn't performed any heroic deed like the other boys in his
book.  But now that came too.  Early one morning in the young
Prince's apartment at Coburg he was awakened by an unpleasant
smell.  There was smoke in the room.  He got out of bed and
discovered that one of his rooms was on fire.  There was no
plumbing of course, and he had nothing to put out the fire with
except "two pitchers of water and a jug of camomile tea," but he
and his brother and their valet threw these on the fire and then
summoned help.  The sentry rang the fire bell, help arrived from
all sides, and the smouldering flames were extinguished.

In order to make sure that his readers had not missed the point, or
failed in some way to appreciate this as a companion piece to
Wellington's Waterloo, Mr. Martin told the story all over again,
ending by saying that it was thus that the Prince saved "the noble
edifice from destruction, with but two pitchers of water from the
washstands and a jug of camomile tea."  I don't know just why, but
I felt that he did right to repeat it.  On the next page the Prince
married Victoria, and at the bottom of that page he died.

The effect of Mr. Martin and Mrs. Molesworth was to create in the
back of my mind a Valhalla, peopled by lofty but shadowy figures,
Wellington, Prince Albert and Sidney, Garibaldi and Ted.  I never
dreamed of taking a critical attitude toward these figures.  The
only thing was that no matter how much I read about them I felt
empty inside.  They were as resplendent and as striking as the
waxworks in the Eden Muse, and I looked at their effigies one by
one, with solemn respect, but they had been dead a long time.  I
never thought of Gulliver or Robinson Crusoe as dead.

I had heard a good deal about a writer named Horatio Alger who
wrote books for boys.  One day a cousin of mine, Parmly Clapp,
offered to lend me a few.  They were easy to read and they came
into my life at just the right moment.  I had become convinced that
splendour and holiness were out of my line.  Alger opened my eyes
to a brand new attraction--the ways in which boys could earn money.

I was fascinated by that idea.  If I could only earn steady wages I
could buy lots of new things.  I already had all the food that I
wanted--except chocolate caramels--and as to better clothes I was
indifferent, but I needed more lead soldiers and some rare stamps
and a printing press badly.

"A long train was running at moderate speed over a Wisconsin
railroad.  Among the passengers was a stout, gentlemanly-looking
boy, who looked much more than sixteen, although he had not yet
reached that age.  On the seat beside him was a large carpet bag."
That is the way that Strive and Succeed by Horatio Alger began, and
the stout, gentlemanly, fifteen-year-old boy had already done some
work as a book agent and a clerk in a store.  According to the
preface this book was "reprinted from the pages of Young Israel, a
New York juvenile magazine."  It wasn't only the young Israelites
who liked Alger however, it was young Yankees too.  I suppose that
a youth with a soul above business wouldn't have cared much for a
story like Cash Boy with its honest and hard-working hero, but my
soul wasn't that kind.  I also read Bound to Rise, Slow and Sure,
and Paul the Peddler.  The boys Alger introduced me to were level-
headed youngsters, not dreamers, and they seemed to be right on my
level, or not too much above it.  They were manly, but in a
sensible way; they were brave but they also were practical; and
they didn't make me uncomfortable by devoting themselves to honour
and glory.  I didn't re-read them as I did Gulliver, their
interests were a little too narrow, but they were more my own kind
than Alexander of Macedon.  They were business-like heroes.


I must have been a chronically suspicious small boy, for I remember
thinking to myself that Father needed a great deal of watching.
When he was in an expansive and jolly mood, a boy could trust him,
but not when he felt thoughtful.  At such times the danger was that
he would think of some brand new ambition.  Not for himself, but
for me.

One such ambition, which I blindly felt was harsh and unnatural,
was that in addition to French I should learn German.  He seemed to
have all sorts of hopeful pictures in his mind of my future, and
one of these was of my travelling widely in Europe, conversing in
an affable and condescending way with all nations.  When I
earnestly protested that I didn't want to converse with them, he
laughed at my spluttering and told me that I would, later on.  He
added:  "I decline to have any son of mine grow up to be a damn
blockhead, and blunder around the Continent in a helpless and
ridiculous manner."  He said that was no way to travel.  All self-
respecting young men should learn enough languages to feel at ease
while in Europe.

This made even the very thought of Europe objectionable to me.  If
a boy had to go through all that, just to travel, I felt I'd rather
stay home.  I was having quite enough trouble with French without
studying German.  But I couldn't get Father to sympathize with this
point of view.  His own travels abroad as a young bachelor and
later as a young bridegroom had left him with such pleasant
memories that he had become, from my point of view, kind of
romantic.  I was impatient with this.  I felt like a young but
clear-headed critic arguing with some hopeless dreamer.

I felt more exasperated than ever when, on questioning Father, I
learned that he hadn't travelled in Germany or had to learn German.
He had picked up a smattering of it somehow, but the only tongue he
knew well was French.  When I said resentfully that it was not fair
to make me learn something he hadn't, he said that that was the
very reason he wanted me to, so that I wouldn't miss it, as he had.
All his life, he said, he had regretted not knowing that language.
I told him I'd bet I'd never miss it, but he assured me I would.

At odd moments he tried to teach me the rudiments of German
himself.  For some reason he began with the word Ich which I could
never pronounce.  I could not or would not lend myself to saying
such a word right.  I was willing to call it either Ick or Itch,
but that was as far as I'd go.  We had I don't know how many heated
and long-drawn-out sessions before he resigned me to what he called
my "barbarous fate."

One winter some friends of Mother's, the Garrisons, introduced her
to an elderly German lady who was in want.  Her name was Frulein
von Pilch, and she was a majestically heavy and slow-speaking
person.  She had a meditative expression, voluminous skirts, and
calm eyes.  When the Garrisons brought her to the house and
introduced her, she clasped and held Mother's hand, and said to her
affectionately, "But you are eggsackly der teep."  Mrs. Garrison
explained this meant that Mother was just the type to learn German,
and that Frulein von Pilch would be only too happy to teach her.

Mother was always sorry for anyone who was old and hard up.  She
didn't really want to learn German, but she suddenly saw that, if
she did, she would be giving a wonderful surprise to Father the
next time they went abroad.  As this idea enchanted her, and as
this really seemed to be the right moment, and as Frulein was in
such very sad circumstances, Mother agreed to take lessons.  Then
Frulein explained that the price of each lesson to Mother would be
very much less if she signed a little written agreement to take a
full course of them; and Mother, who besides having a soft heart
had a sense of thrift too, simply couldn't resist taking advantage
of such a bargain, and signed.

The German language and Mother then began to make each other's
acquaintance.  The beginning was pleasant enough, but yet somehow
not promising.  Frulein shook her head several times thoughtfully
at certain developments.  Mother's head was so full of other things
that Frulein didn't seem to feel sure there was going to be room
enough in it for a language like German.  Also, Mother seemed to
expect the German language to behave like a gentleman and not be
too hard on a busy woman who had several small boys to take care
of, and who was studying it out of pure kindness, merely to help
poor old Frulein.  This feeling of Mother's was concealed out of
politeness at first, but it was burstingly strong; and when neither
the German language nor Frulein seemed to feel grateful, and when
on the contrary they became too demanding and difficult, they were
vehemently told that they really would have to change for the

Frulein went off to think this over until the next lesson.  She
loved the German language just as it was; and even if she hadn't
she didn't see how she could change it.  That had never been done.
She had no wish to change herself either.  She was a good German.
On the other hand, she wasn't a mere teacher, she was more like a
missionary.  When she came across unfortunate foreigners, who were
living in darkness, and held up the light of German before them,
she wished them to bow reverently before it and take it into their

She came back determined to get it into Mother's heart somehow,
even if she had to go very slow and pretend to yield here and
there.  She yielded on some irregular verbs and the prepositions
before the dative for instance.  The one thing she wouldn't give
way on was the general structure of sentences, with the ingredients
properly arranged in an orderly row, and the verb where it
belonged, at the end.  That was the essence of German.  That
however was the very thing about German that antagonized Mother.
She said it was impossible for her to talk that way.  She couldn't
keep the verb back.  She had a quick darting mind and her way of
thinking and talking was lively, and every time Frulein with her
stately tread entered the house Mother pounced on her and tried to
make her and the German language become lively too.

A worried look gradually appeared on Frulein's once-peaceful brow,
and her slow, quiet eyes grew distressed.  She could be patient,
she could be affectionate and steadfast, but she could not become
lively.  She was probably secretly troubled by the concessions she
had already made--they had not been exactly disloyal to the
Fatherland but they were on the borderline--and she neither knew
how nor dared to keep on making more.  She at last put her foot
down.  Mother was brought face to face with all the undisguised
rigors of German and Frulein flatly informed her that she would
have to accept them.

Mother was appalled to have a worm turn in this way and threaten
her--an ungrateful worm whom she had befriended.  She tried to
break off the agreement.  This stirred up still deeper depths of
"Germanness," as Mother called it in Frulein.  She stubbornly held
to her rights and insisted on going ahead.

When she left the house at the end of that lesson she was in a hard
mood, and Mother was in a depressed one.  She had me come down to
her room and we had a long talk about it.  I was too young to be
any real help to her but Mother felt desperate.  We read over the
agreement together.  "The mean old thing," Mother wailed.  She
burst into tears of vexation.  It couldn't be broken.  The idea of
paying Frulein the money for nothing was not even considered.  We
neither of us knew what to do.

The next time Frulein came to the house Mother again summoned me,
and I found to my horror that she was now turning to me in earnest.
The only way out that she could see, she said, was for me to learn

I was very much agitated.  My devotion to Mother was pulling me one
way and my loathing of German the other.  Fortunately Frulein,
upon being consulted, looked at me with disfavour.  I couldn't even
pronounce her name right, she said, and she had never taught

I said to Mother that the one who seemed fondest of German was

That night after dinner Mother explained to Father about the
surprise for him that she had planned but told him that she didn't
feel well enough just then to do very much studying, and that as
she thought she was going to have a baby she would have to take a
short rest.  She said that Father had better take her lessons for
her until she felt better.

It took quite a little explaining to make this plan at all clear to
Father.  When he had at last got it straight and had looked at the
contract, he said that of course he had no time for German, it was
out of the question, but he felt that a few lessons from Frulein
wouldn't hurt me a bit.  He looked at me and laughed as he added
that he wished the old woman luck.

Mother then had to make him understand that Frulein never taught
children.  She said also that she didn't know what was the matter
with me but I couldn't even say Ich, and the money would really be
wasted if Frulein and I spent the winter on it.  Father got out of
his chair and walked up and down when he had to admit this.  He
said that Mother was everlastingly throwing herself into hasty and
ill-advised projects and then turning to him to be extricated, and
that he was tired of it.  He said that he was overburdened with
heavy responsibilities and problems and cares, and that although he
wished very much he had learned German when young he now had no
leisure to study it.  After all of which he said that since there
was no other way out of the mess, he would take a lesson or two,
while Mother rested, but that then she must take her own medicine.

This step proved to be fatal.  Although Father felt indignant and
put upon, he made good progress in German.  After two or three
lessons, which he had to take at night, when he had finished his
dinner, he insisted that Mother must stop shirking and go back to
work, but although she seemed to be always about to do this,
somehow she never did.  He could never quite pin her down.  He
grumbled, he protested, but every time Frulein arrived, either the
hairdresser was there, or the dressmaker, or maybe Aunt Emma, or
else some sudden household emergency kept Mother from taking the
lesson.  Or if she did try to, after the first fifteen minutes
Mother felt very faint, and Frulein would come downstairs,
beaming, to give Father the rest of the hour.  She was delighted
with Father because he was thorough.  No matter how cross he got at
her she smiled tenderly at him, while he faithfully though
unwillingly filled her copy books with a fine German script.


We boys wanted a boat.  Spending our summers at the Pequot, a
colony of cottages near New London, where the Thames flows into the
Sound, we wanted to be out on the water.  Charlie Ogden had a row-
boat, but that wasn't enough to go round.  There were nearly a
dozen boys from New York at the Pequot in the eighties.  There were
four of us Day boys alone.  And though Charlie was hospitable, he
insisted on having at least as much use of his own boat as we did.
He also had a sister who liked to use it, and take out other girls
with her.  A boat full of girls seemed to us a ridiculous sight,
but they brazened it out, rowing up and down near the shore, in
their starched white frocks and stiff little petticoats, while we
boys commented loudly and mockingly on their performance.

One summer after we had all learned to swim, we four brothers at
last got Father to promise that he would buy a boat for the family.
Mother said he was to make very sure that he selected a safe one.
Although she went in bathing and splashed around, close to the
shore, she regarded swimming as an unnatural and mysterious feat,
and she deeply distrusted the water.

In the circumstances, a sailboat was out of the question.
Sailboats were always tipping over, Mother said, or else being
blown out to sea, or striking holes in themselves by dashing
against rocks, and then sinking straight out of sight.  A canoe, or
even a light skiff or rowboat, seemed almost as dangerous.  She
didn't want to keep her boys from enjoying themselves on the water,
but couldn't Father get something solid for us to go out in?

Father at last found an immensely broad rowboat, long enough for
three sets of oars, with a great, roomy, square-cut stern and a
tiller, and a rather fat bow.  She was so stalwart and solid that
we could leap in or out of her without disturbing her balance, and
it took a great deal of muscular effort to compel her to rock.
Other rowboats could be upset by main force if we wanted to do it,
as we now and then did when in swimming, but not this boat of ours.
In dignity, weight, and durability she resembled a barge.

This boat seemed especially designed to promote family life.  If
one of us went out by himself in her, he seldom went far.  He came
back breathing hard and exhausted, and tried to find reinforcements.
George and I, who were the oldest, could get along by spelling each
other, but if our younger brothers wanted to come we liked to have
them, and Cousin Julie besides.  When Julie came, she usually began
by sitting in the stern like a lady and trying to steer so as to
satisfy the various oarsmen, each of whom had different ideas; but
we often got caught in such a strong tide that we had hard work
getting home, and Julie would then find that in mere self-
preservation she would have to turn to and row.

As Julie was beginning to go to teas and other young-ladyish
parties, she didn't have a great deal of appetite for boating, at
least of this kind, so when Harold, my youngest brother, was six,
he was promoted to be coxswain instead.  We then began having races
with Charlie's boat.  This was a stern business.  It was
particularly hard on our knuckles and the backs of our heads.  Each
boy rowed with a pair of oars instead of one, to better our speed,
and when he crossed the handle ends over, in his excitement, he
knocked all the skin off his knuckles.  And in rough water anybody
who missed a stroke fell over backward and banged his head good and
hard.  After going through all this it was kind of exasperating
never to beat Charlie's boat.

When a yacht or a man-of-war visited the Pequot, what we boys most
admired about it was the crew of its gig.  There were no gasoline
launches in those days.  A gig with six sailors and a coxswain
would put off from some splendid yacht and bound swiftly over the
water.  Four fascinated red-headed Day boys would stand staring in
awe at the perfect rhythm and timing of the oarsmen, with their
short, snappy strokes.  Best of all, as they rounded the dock, at a
word from the coxswain the oars would spring out of the rowlocks
and stiffly point to the sky, while the boat glided easily in and
laid itself alongside the float.

Having a boat ourselves now, and a fairly large family to man it,
we of course tried to imitate this performance and make a smart
landing ourselves, especially if there was anyone watching.  One
day when we had the tide with us, George and I for once got a
magnificent momentum on our sleepy old craft.  On that particular
day, too, Harold, our coxswain, had been hungry for hours and was
in a hurry to land.  In order to be sure to avoid any delay, he
held back his order to up oars till the very last moment, and then
steered too full at the float besides, so as to be sure not to miss
it.  Our boat flew through the water.  It rammed the float, head
on, with such violence that George and I and our four shaky oars
were instantly spilled off our thwarts, and as we clattered to the
bottom of the boat the bow man and his boathook fell over backward
on top of us.  Mother, who was waiting on the dock, started
screaming for help.  This, naturally, drew everybody's attention to
us, to our great annoyance.  And while we were scrambling to our
feet, Harold leapt out and fled.

Below the Pequot House, sticking out into the river, stood the
dock, broad and spacious.  Once or twice a day the little river
steamer passed by.  If signalled, she stopped and made fast to the
easterly end to take on a passenger, tooting her whistle in
triumph.  Or sometimes the dinghy of a visiting yacht would wait at
the float, while its owner sat in a rocking-chair drinking lemonade
on a cottage piazza.  At other times the dock was deserted by grown
people, except Cap'n Finch.

Cap'n Finch was a lean, sharp-eyed man of possibly thirty or forty,
who owned a beautiful white sloop, the Hattie, which was to let, by
the hour.  As an investment, the Hattie paid slow and irregular
dividends.  She lay, spick and span, at her moorings, day in and
day out, and Cap'n Finch sat under a shed on the dock, watching her
and chewing tobacco.  He looked discontented.  He had a restless
way of shifting about, and a tart and abrupt way of speaking.

Once in a while, though, his bronze face would relax a little and
he would become less forbidding.  This was when visitors at the
hotel would stroll down to the dock, and after protracted
negotiations go for a sail on the Sound.

It seemed to me, as a boy, that the most glorious thing on earth
was a sloop.  I often ran down to the dock to look at the Hattie,
rocking gently in the waves at her moorings.  And on the rare
occasions when Cap'n Finch avariciously took a party on board, made
sail, and winged his way down the river, I felt enthralled by the
sight.  Because, I suppose, of the sum that such an outing
required, I never got a chance to sail in the Hattie.  Mother
didn't like sailing, and Father didn't like Cap'n Finch.  The
situation was hopeless.

Meanwhile we kept tugging away at the oars of our rowboat.
Sometimes we rowed up the river toward the town of New London, to
visit an old whaling man we called Amos, and read a valuable book
of his about how and where to catch whales.  One day Amos, looking
over our rowboat, suggested that he could step a mast in her,
for'ard, with a leg-of-mutton sail, all complete.  With a
centreboard, I could then sail her anywhere.  This excited me
greatly.  As neither Amos nor I had any money, however, we did
nothing for some weeks but talk.  Then Amos found a spar, a rather
little one, that would do for a mast, and enough old canvas to
patch up a sail out of, and although we couldn't afford blocks or
halyards, he and I went to work.

Owing to the high cost of lead, we had to give up the idea of a
centreboard.  Amos shook his head over this.  He said a sail would
be no use without one.  I didn't agree.  Though I knew little or
nothing about sailing, I knew a whole lot about rowing, and I was
tired of pulling my arms out of their sockets, tugging away at
those oars.

Amos yielded at last.  He kept making predictions of difficulties,
but, as I pointed out, perhaps those very difficulties would open
Father's eyes to our needs.

The New York Yacht Club fleet anchored off the Pequot during its
cruise every summer.  One dark morning the yachts fought their way
in against a wet northern wind, while George and I were pulling up
the river to get the new sail from Amos.  He had all the gear
ready.  He showed us how to step the mast and how to unship it
again when we were through, he screwed in a cleat or two for the
sheet, and after a while we were off.  We didn't ask Amos any
questions about how to handle a sail.  We supposed that we knew.
So did Amos.  He had never met boys who didn't.

The wind was gusty and strong, and it was blowing almost directly
downstream.  The tide was running out, and the current of the river
was swift.  We sped along at a rate that was intoxicating to a pair
of weary ex-oarsmen.  Sprawled insolently at our ease in the stern
we hardly noticed the rain.  All went well till we bore down on the
crowd of yachts that now lay at anchor.

It was necessary to do some careful steering.  George had the
sheet, I the tiller.  I not only felt thoroughly competent, I felt
happy and proud.  It seemed to me that even the great yachts ahead
of us would admire our boat, and that their crews would perhaps man
the sides and give us a cheer as we passed.

To my consternation, I then found that our boat wouldn't do what I
wanted.  It obediently pointed its nose in any direction I wished,
but this had very little effect on the course it took through the
water.  I could sail it downstream bow on if I steered due south,
straight ahead, or by pulling the tiller I could present one of its
fat sides to the wind, but whatever I did we still went due south,
with the wind, tide, and current.  I began to understand better why
Amos had wanted a centreboard.

We didn't hit any of the first yachts that we passed, I hardly know
why.  Both they and I fully expected it.  We had some narrow
escapes.  As the yachts became thicker, however, naturally some had
to suffer.  Many more of their crews manned their sides than I had
let myself dream, but they didn't stand and cheer us, they cursed.
At first they were incredulous, they couldn't believe we'd dare to
harm them, but as they saw our boat ram and rebound from some
neighbouring craft, they suddenly realized, crew by crew, that they
all were in danger.

The yachts were of various sizes.  There must have been a hundred,
all told.  Some had crews of only one or two men, some had dozens.
Large or small, all the crews seemed to think it would help to save
them from being damaged if they threatened us fiercely enough as we
bore down on them.  It didn't.  Nearly all these yachts were
freshly painted, and this was the first leg of their cruise, and
one or two red-faced owners whose yachts were bumped into, or
scraped, ran along their decks shaking their fists at us and
roaring like madmen.

George was groggy by this time.  He had nearly fallen overboard at
our second or third bad collision, and as for me, I was half-
stunned with fright.  Then, just a little way down the stream, I
saw the Hattie.  I realize now that she was probably only a rotten
old tub, but that was not how I saw her in those days.  She was a
far more sacred craft in my eyes than any yacht in the harbour, and
on top of that I was scared of Cap'n Finch and of what he might do.
I came to my senses, abandoned the tiller, and we lowered the sail.
As the sail was nailed fast to the mast, this involved lowering

Disguised now as an innocent rowboat, George and I rowed ashore,
and unobtrusively made our way home in the rain.  On the dock we
had to pass Cap'n Finch.  He had probably seen at least a part of
our disgraceful adventure, but as we went by he averted his eyes
and grimly gazed out to sea.

The next day some of the yachtsmen gave parties on board their
yachts, and one very youthful yacht-owner, who was attentive to
Julie, invited all the Day family.  George and I consulted
privately together about what we'd better do, and when the hour
came for us to start we were not to be found.


Father liked company.  He was a sociable man and he liked to have
his family do things with him.  And particularly he liked to have
Mother do things with him.  So, after he had been riding horseback
awhile he began to urge Mother to take it up too.

Mother, however, had a deep distrust of horses.  Her father, to be
sure, had had a stock farm in Ohio where he raised horses, but that
had been way out of town, and she hadn't taken to horses.  Or they
to her.

In the city she seldom even rode in carriages, until she was fifty
or over.  Before that she trusted her legs.  She preferred to.  Of
course, she used street-cars and buses, which had horses to draw
them, and once in a long while she sent to a livery stable and
hired a cab.  But the horses that drew cabs and street-cars seemed
of some milder breed than those which she saw led out in the ring
of the Riding Club where Father wanted her to learn to ride.

However, Father continued to urge her.  He assured her confidently
that it would take her no time at all to learn.  "As to managing a
horse," he said, "there's nothing to it.  Just make up your mind
what you want to do and see to it the horse does it."

This did not make it any clearer to Mother just how she was ever
going to manage such a beast; but she went to a great deal of
trouble to have a riding habit made and one fine day she went to
the Riding Club for the first lesson.

When I saw Mother on horseback I felt a solemn horror.  She who had
once been so slender and young was now plump.  Her tight riding
habit accentuated her figure and, to my troubled eyes, she looked
all wrong, even before she mounted.

And to make matters worse, she approached any horse with
misgivings; she got aboard without any liking for or confidence in
the animal.  He never got any clear idea of what she wished him to
do, and even if he did he wouldn't have felt any particular desire
to comply with her wishes.  She wanted a horse to understand
everything without being told, or at least to interpret correctly
her ejaculations and jerks.  He, in his turn, only became more
bewildered.  Both of them were soon in despair.  At brief moments
one of them would hope a little for better things, they would start
on a trot with some courage perhaps, but no use--hope would die as
my mother bounced tightly along on his back and both she and the
horse grew more wretched and at odds with each other.

Father, however, was cheery.  He was blind to the horse's misery
and firmly disregarded hers.  Bent on giving her encouragement he
followed her around the ring telling her what to do.  He could
always tell though he couldn't teach.  He fully believed that if
she kept on she'd learn.  He was completely surprised and baffled
when, after a few lessons, Mother said:

"That's enough Clare, I am too busy to go there just now."

He did not give up, however, but said that New London, next summer,
was just the place to learn.  He said that riding in a ring didn't
have much purpose to it anyway and that the country was the place.
Besides, out there we had not only Father's horse, but also the
family standby, a horse named Dick.  All of us boys had jogged up
and down on old Dick's back while learning, and there seemed to
Father no reason why Mother should not do so too.

Mother agreed readily enough.  She wanted to end the talk, and next
summer seemed a long way off.  For the time being the whole thing
was over and done with.

No sooner had we arrived in New London, though, than Father began
to make plans for taking Mother out with old Dick.  Mother,
however, said firmly that she was much too busy getting settled.
The truth was that the ring had been bad enough but at least it was
enclosed.  She shuddered to think of herself on the back of a horse
in the open country.  With nothing to stop the creature there was
no telling where he would run to.  She secretly made up her mind
that nothing on earth was going to get her on the back of any horse
way out here in the country.

While she was thinking of an excuse strong enough to silence
Father, old Dick settled the matter for her.  Dick was a middle-
aged, slow-witted, good-looking horse.  He was black all over
except two white fetlocks and a star on his forehead.  We boys
thought he was handsome.  So did other people who didn't know
horses.  His coat was kept so glossy that although the hairs were
coarse they looked fine.  His eyes were large, liquid and friendly,
and they seemed to glow with intelligence or even with fire,
although as a matter of fact Dick had neither.

When he stood outside our front door and held his head high and
pricked up his ears, hoping for sugar, only a mean person would
have noticed that those ears were the longest a horse ever had.
His disposition was agreeable and his general appearance somehow
was gentlemanly.

Father never rode Dick himself if he could possibly help it.  He
had bought him because he was a safe horse for us little boys.  We
felt that it was only when he went into action that he didn't live
up to his looks.  He had a solid heavy-footed gallop that jolted us
hard at each bounce, his legs were thick and he had never learned
to raise them at all; he always hung his bony head low as he
pounded laboriously on, and he stopped short in the middle of a
gallop whenever he wanted to rest.  He stopped very often, to
indicate that he was done for, and he had to be yelled at and
kicked to persuade him to start again.

Having a far more gentlemanly nature than I had, Dick took those
kicks in good part.  It seemed boisterous to him, I suppose, but he
took it for granted I meant well.  As soon as he got over his
surprise at the exasperation I'd shown, he would cheerfully bestir
himself and plunge ahead again, just to be pleasant.  And a moment
or two later he would once more suddenly come to a halt.

No matter how rudely I shouted at Dick, his behaviour toward me was
invariably urbane and considerate.  Every time I fell off, he
immediately stopped and began eating grass.  While I was picking
myself up and climbing on again he continued to eat.  After I had
got on his back and hauled his head up and begun thumping his sides
with my heels, he would look around in a friendly way at me, until
it became finally clear to him that I wanted to go on with our

A horse of this temperament, conservative, slow and respectable,
was the last horse that we ever thought would run away with us some
day.  Yet one afternoon that's what happened.

George and I had driven Dick in the dogcart along the shore road
all the way from our summer cottage at the Pequot up to the town of
New London.  We had started early and Dick had taken his time about
it.  At the place where the road turned off from the shore and
passed under the railroad tracks, which ran overhead on a low,
stumpy, ironwork bridge, we faithfully stopped, according to
promise, to make sure that no train was coming, and then drove on
into New London and through its narrow winding streets to meet

We sat waiting a long time near the station in the hot afternoon
sunshine.  The train was way behind schedule that Saturday.  That
was bad luck for Father.  He could get away only for week-ends.  On
Sunday night he would have to take the night boat to return to New
York.  Every hour of his week-ends was precious to him.

Dick hung his long head down, crooked a knee or two, dozed in the

The very second the train rolled into the station we saw Father
spring out.  He walked swiftly over to us and got into the dog-
cart.  George was sitting in the front seat beside him.  I sat
behind, facing backward.  Father took the reins, touched Dick up
with the whip and away we drove toward the Pequot.  There still was
a chance of our getting there in time for a swim.

Dick was still half-asleep.  When he found that he was expected to
hurry, he got rather flustered.  He snorted, he threw his legs
around, and shook his head.  George and I laughed.  Before Father
drove under the low railroad bridge we stopped for a moment, but it
was only a moment, and none of us heard the fast train.  As we
started through it came with a roar, less than ten feet over our
heads.  Dick's brain was never very clear and it now ceased to
work.  The noise was so great and so alarming that he leapt wildly
forward, and the next I knew he was speeding away with us down the
shore road.  I was rather pleased about this at first.  The sooner
we got home the better.  But as the heavy dog-cart lurched and I
saw Father sawing away at Dick's leathery mouth, I realized that
the big animal was out of control.  I held on tight to the side-
rails.  At one place where there was a thank-you-ma'am in the road,
I was bounced so high up in the air, holding on to the side-rails,
that the cushioned seat rose from its frame underneath me and
pitched out of the dogcart.  I came down on the frame with a bang,
and stared back at my seat as it sailed through the air and fell
plop on the road far behind us.

I was astonished at Dick.  He had always trusted the family before.
But he'd been more than frightened, he'd been shocked by the noise
under the bridge.  He behaved as though we had tried to lead him
into a loud and terrible death.  No matter how hard Father pulled,
Dick galloped ahead.  He wasn't going to trust anybody but himself
from now on.  He had to get away from that bridge and he had to
keep going.

Dick ran in all for nearly two miles.  He was puffing and coughing
most of the time and making a great deal of noise.  So was Father.
Father was calling upon Dick to stop, and calling on us to hold
tight, and on the world in general to look out and keep out of the
way.  After a little, George tried to help Father pull on the
reins, but Dick had the bit in his teeth and he was still in a

The one good thing about the situation was that our speed was not
great.  Dick was going much faster than usual, but that was not
very fast.  It was a kind of slow-motion runaway.

The worst of it was when we got to the Pequot.  We roared
helplessly by in full view of the cottage piazzas and the crowded
hotel, at an unseemly yet ponderous gallop, and swung on toward the

Even on the hill Dick didn't stop, which astonished George and me
greatly.  He went up and over the crest and plunged on past the
Haven place and down the road toward the lighthouse.  It wasn't
until the road got so sandy that the going was bad that Dick
solemnly slowed down and made up his mind he was safe.

Father got out when he stopped.  He said that the damned horse had
pulled his arms out of their sockets, and demanded to know where
the cushion was and why I had lost it.  When I told him, he said it
was very peculiar and he'd have to send the coachman to get the
cushion.  Then he looked at his watch and brightened up and said
he'd have time for a swim.  He turned Dick around and we drove
sedately back to our cottage.

After Father had his swim he came out on the porch, refreshed and
at peace with the world.  The runaway was comfortably a thing of
the past.  Mother however had no intention of letting this
opportunity slip by her.  She began right away to say firmly that
she had always known horses were dangerous, and she could not see
why he had ever urged her to ride.

"An accident can happen to anyone," Father said easily.

"That's just why I shall never ride, Clare," Mother returned.

"But this did not mean anything, I tell you," said Father.  "That
damn train just rushed out of nowhere and that crazy horse took the
bit in his teeth."

"Well, I should think that you would have looked first," Mother
said as she gathered up her sewing before going in to make ready
for dinner.

"I tell you I did look but the--" Father started to explain again.

"If you looked I don't see why you went under the bridge with the
train right there," said Mother severely as she went through the

Father, who had been so genial, was now red-faced and angry.  He
puffed violently at his cigar for a moment, then strode up the road
to the cottage where his friend Mr. Ogden lived.

As we came along to the Pequot House for dinner a few moments
later, we saw Father quietly exhaling his cigar, and his voice,
always full-bodied, came to us distinct on the early evening air.

"And where that train came from I'm damned if I know."


The women whom Mother knew in the eighties didn't discuss women's
rights.  When Mrs. Belva Lockwood ran for President, they knew it
was ridiculous.  When votes for women were advocated, later on,
they disapproved of that programme.  They sometimes are pictured,
accordingly, as meek, supine creatures.  This is a mistake.  In
their marital relations they were particularly firm and demanding.

Their underlying feeling was that a woman had certain
"prerogatives," which God and Nature had given her.  They often
talked to each other about these and the best ways to get them.
When Mother was in her thirties she listened to such talks
intently.  She had no very clear idea as to what a woman's
prerogatives were, but whatever they were she thought she might
need them, and her feelings about them were vigorous.

This attitude was partly an outgrowth of the way Father talked.  He
didn't seem to think that a woman had any prerogatives.  He never
put it that way exactly, but whenever one was claimed it surprised
him.  He professed never to have heard of the most ordinary
feminine privileges.

One grievance of Mother's, which had seemed a small matter at first
but which grew bigger each year, was that Father had never given a
ring to her when they got engaged.  She had been a little
surprised, even at the time, when she didn't get one.  She had
supposed every girl got an engagement ring as soon as she promised
to marry.  Father had once had an unpleasant experience, however,
which had left a dislike of engagement rings fixed in his mind.  He
told Mother not to be young and foolish.  Engagement rings were all
nonsense.  He said they were going to get married so very soon
anyway that she didn't need one.  She was in no mood to quarrel
with him.  He was twenty-eight, she was twenty, and his ideas

As time went on, and as Mother talked over things with other young
married women, she felt more and more injured.  Not only that, but
she began to fear she had made a dreadful mistake.  Her young women
friends explained to her the awful consequences of letting a man
evade his plain duty.  Any man who had successfully evaded one
duty, they said, would naturally suppose he could keep right on
evading for life.

The next thing Father knew, he found himself being heatedly urged
to buy an engagement ring for his wife, several years after they
had married and settled down and begun to have children.  Not
having the slightest idea as to why Mother wanted it, he was
immensely surprised.  He was still more surprised to see her cry
when he refused her request.  He patiently explained to her, as
though she were a petulant child, the senselessness of his
presenting an engagement ring to the woman he was married to, damn

This encounter was only the first of many that they had on the
subject.  As the combats continued, Father became more and more
convinced that women were completely unreasonable, and also that
Mother had a mysterious mania for rings; and Mother, whose jewel
box didn't have very much in it, felt more and more sure that the
women she had talked with were right, and that unless she could get
that ring out of Father, she'd never get any of her just dues

Meanwhile, having got it into his head that Mother had a strange
love of rings, Father bought her a handsome ring every time she
bore him a son.  Once in a long while he even brought home a new
ring on her birthday, if he had been sufficiently reminded in
advance that her birthday was coming.  Mother was delighted each
time she got one.  She had a great love of jewels.  But from her
point of view none of these gifts could make up to a woman for the
lack of ever having had an engagement ring, and she kept right on
wanting one.

One afternoon, down at Grandpa Day's, while I was playing on the
floor with a wooden engine that Grandpa had made for me, and while
Mother was talking with Grandma and old Mrs. Caister, something was
said about Bessie Skinner.

Mother sniffed.

"That was the one that Clare got engaged to first, Vinnie," said

Mother said, "Yes, I know, but what really happened?  What broke it

Grandma shook her head and said evenly that she never knew.

Mrs. Caister laughed to herself.  "They were cousins," she said.
"They were both of 'em Days, Vinnie; that's why.  Whenever they had
any difference, neither one of 'em would give in to the other.  So
finally Bessie up and returned the ring that Clare--"

"WHAT!" Mother shrieked.  I looked up from my engine.  "He gave
that woman a RING?  What became of it?"

Mrs. Caister said that she supposed Father had it.  She remembered
distinctly that he had given Bessie a ring and a watch, and that
she had never sent the watch back to him, but she certainly had
sent the ring.

The next thing I knew Mother was hurrying with me through East
Twenty-fifth Street over to Fourth Avenue and we were getting on an
uptown horse-car.  I looked out at the thin, dirty white horses.
It was cold and my legs were not quite long enough to reach the
floor of the car, where the straw would have kept them a little
warmer.  I squirmed around and knelt on the seat to look out of the
window.  There wasn't much to see but long rows of red-brick
houses, two or three stories high, with shops on the street floors
and furniture or baskets of vegetables out on the broad sidewalks.
Every two or three blocks a big wooden Indian with a bunch of
wooden cigars in his hand stood offering them to passers-by, at the
door of some cigar shop.  Presently the conductor struck a match to
light the tiny kerosene lamps, one at each end of the car, and we
went in the tunnel.  When we came out again, in Forty-second
Street, the buildings were all twice as tall, and the streets twice
as crowded with horses and wagons and hacks, cutting in and out
every which way, with the drivers yelling like mad at each other.

It was nearly six o'clock when we got home.  Father was dressing
for dinner.  He was at his washstand in the passageway, in his
trousers and undershirt, with his suspenders hanging down, sponging
his face and head and snorting with pleasure.

"Clare!" Mother cried, as she ran in his bedroom.  "Why did you
never give me that ring?"

Father looked up from the wash-bowl, dripping with water.  "What
are you talking about?" he said.  "Go away."

"Where did you put it, Clare?" Mother said urgently.  "Don't
pretend you don't know!"

Father rubbed his head and hair with his big Turkish towel and
stared angrily at her.  "Go away, Vinnie!" he roared.  "I gave you
a ring only last year.  I don't know what on earth is the matter
with you.  I never saw such a woman!"

"I want that ring you gave Bessie Skinner, Clare!"

Father got red.  He laughed.  "Where did you hear about that?" he

"Never mind where I heard about it," Mother said.  "I want it.  Is
it in this bureau drawer?"

"Shut that drawer!" Father shouted.  "No it's not.  Leave my things
alone, Vinnie!"

I ran on upstairs to get ready for dinner myself.

A few days later, after Father had taken down from an upper shelf
an old box of mementoes, he found the ring he had once given to his
cousin and handed it over to Mother.  It was a very little ring.
Not nearly so handsome as those Mother had.  Father had been young
and unable to afford a better one when he had bought it.  It was
only a thin band of gold with two tiny white diamonds, but Mother
clutched it victoriously.

"I don't see what you want that poor old thing for," Father said.

Mother didn't exactly know, either.  She only knew that she felt
much better, now that she had it.  She looked at the two tiny
diamonds, wondering what could be done with them.  She looked
speculatively at Father.  Her eye fell on his shirt front.

"What do you wear those pearl studs all the time for?" she asked

"I don't," he said.  "I haven't worn them for weeks.  I just
screwed them in to-night for a change."

"Your plain gold ones are handsomer, really," said Mother.

Father went back to his newspaper.  Shirt studs didn't interest
him.  Or at least so he thought.  He didn't know that he was
wearing his full-dress pearls for the last time.

A few nights later a small box from Tiffany's arrived at the door--
a box that Mother had been waiting for eagerly.  It contained a new
ring--a pretty little ring with three fine pearls in it and two
tiny diamonds.  Much handsomer than Bessie Skinner's.

"See my new ring, Clare!" she cried.

Father examined it but without recognizing the jewels.  "More
extravagance," he said, with a frown.

"But isn't it pretty?" said Mother.

"I don't say it's not pretty, Vinnie, but how much did it cost?
I've given you enough rings by this time."

Mother gave him a kiss.

"It didn't cost anything, darling, except for the setting.  And now
that I've got this you needn't give me rings any more."

Father looked at her incredulously.

"What I'd really like now," Mother said, "would be a nice diamond


Throughout Mother's illness, Father hadn't been very much troubled.
But now that she was beginning to get well again, he felt quite
alarmed, for he realized at last, as he watched her, how feeble she
had become.  He kept patting her hand and saying "Dear Vinnie," and
telling her he couldn't stand it.

Mother was pleased by his being attentive.  When she saw other
women being fussed over by their husbands, she often wished she got
more of such attentions.  But she was not really the kind of woman
to linger much over endearments.  She liked things of that sort to
be electric, and to come in quick flashes, and pass.  She hadn't
time or patience to give herself up to long interchanges.

So after Father, who wasn't very inventive, had patted her hand
twenty times, she snatched it away in annoyance and said:  "Stop
it, Clare!  That's enough!"

"Get your hat and stick, dear," she added.  "It's time you were

Mrs. Nichols was giving a tea which Mother wished to hear all
about, and she had coerced Father, much against his will, into
saying he'd go.  What had made him consent was his desire to do
something for her.  She said that if he told her about the tea it
might brighten her up, and he felt that she probably needed a
little amusement.

He looked spruce and handsome in his formal cutaway coat.  Mother
smiled at him.  She felt she was being generous to Mrs. Nichols,
and executive, too, to send Father there in her stead--such a
distinguished-looking, ruddy, agreeable man would be a help at any
tea.  It would be pleasant for Father, besides.  She only wished
she could go, instead of sitting in bed with nothing more
interesting to look forward to than chicken broth.  Things tasted
so good at a tea.

"Anything I can do for you while I'm out?" Father asked her.

"Yes, Clare," she said suddenly, "there IS something I'd like.  Do
bring me some of those little sandwiches Mrs. Nichols has--they'd
be nice with the broth."

"Sandwiches and BROTH?" Father said in dismay.

"No!  Just sandwiches," Mother said.  "Those little thin
sandwiches.  Bring some in your pocket."

"Oh, some sandwiches, eh?"  Father put on his high hat, took his
stick and gloves from the table, and left.

He enjoyed himself more than he expected to at the tea.  Met some
men he knew, and was spoken to by a great many ladies whom he knew
more or less.  It made him feel expansive and jovial to be kept
busy responding to all of them.

He was on guard, however.  There were some women present whom he
knew of old and took care to avoid: women who talked every minute,
or who had masculine airs, or who dressed like old frumps.  But he
picked out a good corner to sit in where there were none of these
persons, and where he could be gallant in his jolly way to others
of a much nicer kind.  And their daughters.  He had a cup of tea,
too, and a plate of sandwiches that one of the attendants had given

As he munched them appreciatively, he remembered that he was to get
some for Mother.

He looked around to see where the sandwiches had come from and
observed a long table at the other side of the room piled high with
delicacies.  But how could he possibly march up to that table
publicly, and amaze everyone by juggling the sticky things into his
coat-tail pocket?

One of the young girls was asking him a question.  He turned to her
to respond.  As their conversation went on, his mind went back
again, once or twice, to the sandwiches, but he didn't see how he
could go over there and put a supply in his pocket.  It would be an
odd thing to do.  He had never done such a thing in his life.  It
had never even occurred to him to do a thing of that kind.  He was
sure that Mother would understand how impossible it was when he
told her.

He had too good a time to leave early, and he stopped at the club
for a moment before walking leisurely home.

Mother's broth had been brought up to her and she was lying there,
waiting.  She heard him let himself in the front door and put away
his hat and things in the coat closet.  He seemed to take forever
to do it.  She heard the closet door shut.  She tasted her broth.
It was flat.  But Father's step was coming along the hall to her
room now, at last.

He beamed cheerfully at her as he entered and started to sit down
in a chair.

"Don't sit on my sandwiches," she warned him.

He half put his hand to his coat-tails, then remembered, and

"Oh, Clare!" Mother cried disappointedly.  "Didn't you bring them?
It's been so tiresome sitting here waiting.  Didn't you even bring

"Now wait," Father said, "wait a moment and let me explain."

"Weren't there any there?"

"Yes, but--"

"You FORGOT them!"

"No!  I didn't forget them!" Father said crossly.

"Why didn't you bring me some, then?"


"Never mind.  I'm tired," said Mother, "and I knew you wouldn't

"I insist on your listening to me," Father shouted.  "I intend to
be heard."

Mother lay back on her pillows, looking deeply hurt and closing her

"The table was at one side of the room," Father began.  "Over here,
say.  There were the sandwiches, there.  I remembered you wanted
some, and I noted where they were, several times.  But--they--it
was impracticable, Vinnie.  In short, there was no way to do it."

"What did you do all the time, then?" Mother sighed.  "Who did you

"I saw everybody," Father said.  "I had a very nice talk with--er--
Mrs. Fisher.  No, Folsom?  Wait a moment.  What is that woman's
name?  She's a cousin of Mrs.--well, I can't remember, but I know
the name perfectly.  Finley.  No, not Finley.  Anyway, she lives on
Park Avenue."

"Oh dear," Mother said.  "And who else?"

"Well, let me see.  Mrs. Palmer, of course."

"Mrs. Palmer!  Why, she's in the South."

"Oh.  Well, maybe it was Mrs.--er--what's-her-name, then.  The
woman whose uncle owns that ugly house on Quaker Ridge."

"I don't know who you're talking about."

"Why, yes you do.  You've seen him fifty times, damn it.  The man
who drives that lopsided pair of flea-bitten greys."

"And you talked to HIM?"

"No!  The confounded blatherskite.  He wasn't there.  I talked with
his aunt, I tell you.  His niece I mean.  The one who looks like an

"Can't you tell me about ANYBODY who was there?  Anybody at all?"

"I can't remember all their names.  No."

"Well, Clare!" Mother said.  "I hope you spoke to Mrs. Nichols."

"Yes, I did.  We had quite a talk."

"What did she have on?"

"Let me think, now.  Something fuzzy, I remember.  With chains."

"What colour was it?"

"I think it was some shade of green."

"That's funny.  She wore that green dress when she received with
her sister, last month."

"Maybe it wasn't green.  Perhaps it was purple."

"Oh, Clare!"

"Good God!" Father roared.  "Don't be so unreasonable.  I can't
give you an account of all the little details of every stitch she
had on.  I'm not a damned couturier, Vinnie."

"But you aren't telling me a thing about anybody," Mother wailed.
"I did hope you'd bring home a little news for me, even if you
didn't remember my sandwiches."  She looked at him sharply.  "Did
you eat any yourself?"

"Yes," Father said, recollecting the taste with pleasure.  "I had
several.  They were very nice."


"Don't begin on that again," Father said.  "I WANTED to bring you
some, Vinnie."  He searched his mind perplexedly for a way to
explain.  But he didn't quite understand, himself, why he hadn't
brought those sandwiches home.  He looked helplessly at her.

"You never will do anything that you think isn't 'suitable,'"
Mother said irritatedly.

"Why, of course I won't," he said, frowning.  "Why should I?"

"Not even for me?"

"Oh, damn!  Oh, damnation!" said Father.


Mother came back from a trip to Egypt with a few hundred dollars
left in her letter of credit, which, much against Father's will,
she kept for her own.  This Egyptian hoard lasted for years, though
only a few hundred dollars; but as it dwindled Mother grew worried
and restless.  It shouldn't have dwindled.  It should have grown.
She said that she should have something coming in every month.
What she--and still less Father--didn't clearly realize was that
she was half unconsciously groping toward a life of her own, in a
random, haphazard, inactive way.

Some of the younger women whom Mother knew had been putting ideas
into her head.  They had told her that it was childish and
undignified for her to have to keep asking Father for money to pay
the household expenses; and worse still to have to struggle with
him over each dollar.  The right way to fix it was to have an
allowance.  But although she listened with interest to this
tempting idea Mother had reservations.  She had heard two kinds of
stories about allowances and one friend had given her some solemn
warnings against them.

However, the younger women told Mother, "Just estimate how much you
need for the house and yourself, and have Mr. Day hand you a
monthly cheque with no talk about it."

Mother told them that they didn't know Mr. Day.  She really liked
the plan they suggested.  The only thing was that she couldn't
figure how much to ask for.  If she asked for too little she'd be
in a trap, and she didn't want to get in any trap--especially one
of her own making.  On the other hand, she knew it would be no use
at all to ask Father for any very large sum because he wouldn't
give it.  Yet she knew very well that any allowance that wasn't
large might sometimes be too little.  What would she do then?  She
didn't want to be always trying to live at some fixed monthly rate,
there were too many unexpected emergencies.  She felt that the plan
wasn't safe.

She talked it over with Father, however, just to see what he'd say.
Father said a great deal.  He said that of all the damned nonsense
he had ever heard this was the damnedest.  He told Mother that she
was a lovely woman and he was very fond of her, but that neither
she nor any of her family knew the first thing about money.

Mother immediately told him she knew as much about money as he did.
But she secretly realized that she was not good at figures.  She
wouldn't have put it that way, even in her own thoughts--she would
have merely said that she didn't like figures or that figures were
tiresome.  The idea of having some money of her own every month was
attractive, but the prospect of having to make careful estimates

She played with the notion for years without really pushing it.
She liked to poke Father up on the subject.  When he made a row
about some bill, and when she had no good defence, she counter-
attacked him by declaring that it was all his own fault, and that
he wouldn't have any such troubles if he gave her a proper
allowance.  He replied that he would have nothing but trouble if he
did anything as crazy as that.  And in the excitement of denouncing
allowances he would lose sight of the bill.

Father's opinion of the financial ability of women was small, also
the custom of the times and of his generation made Mother's talk of
an allowance seem preposterous to him.

Even as recently as thirty or forty years ago, in New York, a lady
was not supposed to have any occasion for cash.  Two or three
dollars to keep in her purse for car-fares and candy was plenty.
There were very few cabs in the streets, and it wasn't customary
for a woman to hail one.  A lady usually had an escort anyway, and
he, of course, paid all expenses.  If she had any shopping to do
she made her purchases at places where she had charge accounts.  If
she lunched out without an escort it wasn't at a restaurant but at
the home of some friend.

Ladies were elaborately dressed beings in long, trailing skirts,
and whenever they walked in the street, they had to hold up these
skirts with one hand.  They had to do this gracefully, of course,
and at just the right height, so as not to reveal too much of their
ankles and yet keep the hem free from dirt.  With the other hand
they carried an umbrella or parasol, or on cold days a muff.

In the side seam of their skirts was a pocket which held a tiny
purse, a handkerchief, and a silver-topped vial of smelling-salts
to use if they felt faint.  But this pocket was not easy to get at,
and it was embarrassing to feel around for it, so when women got on
a street-car they tucked a nickel inside their buttoned gloves.
All conductors were supposed to lend a hand to help them get on and

When I was a little boy Mother wore bonnets, tied under her chin
with gay ribbons.  Later on, when bonnets went out, she had a hard
time with stiff hats.  Ladies' hats were perched up on top of their
hair, and although they were pinned on with long jewelled pins they
were insecure in a wind, and their hair was skewered with
quantities of hairpins, which kept falling out.  No matter how
thoroughly ladies were buttoned up, they were always coming apart.
Their escorts protected them however, swelling with whiskers and

Men knew the world.  Women didn't.  Women were not fitted to deal
with the world.  A wife's fortune, if she had one, was usually
controlled by her husband.  And men's manner in supplying women
with money was supposed to be tender but firm.  This attitude was
so general, and so few of Mother's friends were exempt from it,
that in spite of her self-reliant nature she accepted it as
inevitable.  The idea of her ever becoming independent, even in a
small way, in money matters, and having a life of her own seemed a

Nevertheless Father felt they should be business-like and one of
the great objections, he said, to giving Mother an allowance was
that she would give it all to those parsons.  He said the minute he
died she'd give all of his money to them too.  Or she'd lend it to
one of those incompetent friends of hers.

He had plenty of reasons to think this, for once in a while the
Rev. Dr. Garden, the rector of our church, would drop in to see
Mother.  He usually left a loving message of some kind for Father--
at any rate Father always heard that he'd been there.  And he
didn't like it.  If he himself was at home at the time, it was all
right, because in that case the rector got nothing more than a cup
of tea from his visit and he departed as poor as when he came.  But
when any clergyman succeeded in seeing Mother alone, he always got
something out of her, and not only that but it was invariably
something of Father's.

Mother explained again and again that Dr. Garden had to visit all
his parishioners, and that he didn't ask them for anything, at
least not very often, he merely talked about the needs of the
parish and the opportunities.  However, Father remained down on all
the clergy.  He also remained down on all charities except the
Charity Organization Society and its woodyard.  This was another
trouble, for when appeals came to help a hospital, or a fresh-air
fund, or a home for orphans, Mother couldn't bear not to give
something.  But Father would never give her money for any such
purpose.  He said charity began at home and if he was going to give
money outside he must investigate first.  He asked questions.  He
said he had never heard of whatever hospital had sent the last
circular.  He looked at the signature to the appeal for coloured
orphans suspiciously, and wanted to know "who the devil is this
Father O'Brien?"

Mother loathed these inquisitions.  So she would tuck a five-dollar
bill in the envelope and mail it quickly, and not dare to tell

As years went on however, and as he gradually lost all hope of
moulding Mother into his pattern he began to admit that the
allowance plan might not be so bad--if it worked.  And the more
Mother heard how many other women there were who now had them, the
more confident she began to feel that she could do it if they

What finally brought the thing to a point was a milliner's bill
from Mlle. Mimi.  Father came to Mother's room holding it out
between his thumb and one finger as though it were almost too
repulsive to touch.

"I will not send this person a cheque," he said.

Mother flamed up at him.  "Why, Clare!  It's the only hat I've
bought since November, and it was reduced from forty dollars."

"I do not object to your buying a hat if you need one," he
answered, "though it is beyond my comprehension why you require so
many, but the person from whom you bought it isn't fit to be in the
hat business, or in any other kind either."

"Poor Mimi!" Mother interrupted.  "She does sell her things very

"Her bill gives no evidence of any such habit," said Father.  "But
that is not what I'm talking about."

"Well, really," Mother cried, "why don't you SAY what you're
talking about then?  You just stand there going on and on talking
about this wretched bill."

"If you will be so kind," Father elaborately and sternly rejoined,
"as to cease interrupting me for a moment and allow me to speak, I
will tell you.  I have made out thousands of cheques in my life,
payable to this or that firm or person, but I never have and I
never will write a cheque that says 'pay to the order of Mimi.'"

"I never went there before," Mother said, "but it's a very nice
place and I don't see why you object to it."

"I object to it because this confounded person doesn't put her name
on her bills," Father shouted.  "What the devil is her name

"Why you saw it yourself, Clare.  It's Mimi!"

"Mimi what?  Mimi O'Brien?  Mimi Jones?  Mimi Weinstein?"

"How do I know!  It's just Mimi."

"It isn't just Mimi.  She must have some other name, damn it.  And
you can tell her to print it on her bill if she wants to be paid.
I will not make out a cheque payable to Tom, or to Dick, or to
Mimi.  It's impertinent of her to expect it."

The final outcome of the conversation was that Father agreed to
give Mother an allowance although he was still in doubt just what
it would cover.

"I hope to God it will work," he said pessimistically.

What happened was that Mother, despite her charitable leaks, began
hoarding.  She had a nest egg and was determined to add to it.  The
household expenses she still considered Father's duty.  She had got
too accustomed to his paying the regular bills for her to change
easily and pay for them herself.  As this began to dawn on Father
his surprise and grief were acute.

"It doesn't cover a single thing," he said to me one evening.

However, the matter was settled in Mother's mind.  And Father was
never allowed to pass up a single month.  It was not an easy
allowance to get, it didn't just come.  But it was something due
her, and before the month was ended she would receive it, exhausted
but triumphant.

Father, when at last he had brought it home would be extra glum.
On these nights he sat in his room, or on the piazza, if we were in
the country, talking to himself a long time.  It was impossible to
catch the words at first, but gradually as his feelings reached a
climax he got up and addressed the universe reproachfully, and
always in the same words.

"Just an added expense," he groaned.  "Oh damn."


Father said he was "getting damn tired of being cooped up in the
city all summer," while Mother and we boys were enjoying ourselves
at New London.  He could spend only his week-ends with us there.
He wanted some place nearer town.  His former partner, Mr. John A.
Gwynne, had bought a pleasant country place in Rye, only twenty-odd
miles from New York.  Not far away, in Harrison, old Mr. Macy had
laid out a large private park and had built several cottages in it
to rent.  Father rented one.

George and I came home from boarding-school to that large private
park.  We disliked it.  Mr. Macy's men were always working at it to
make it look trim and neat.  It was the kind of park that boys were
not allowed to mess up.  There was nowhere we could play games of
any kind except on one tennis-court.

We not only played tennis on that court, we held a track meet there
every day.  Each of us four brothers became an athletic club, all
by himself, and he entered a complete team of athletes consisting
solely of himself in every event of each meet.  Harold, the
youngest, called himself The Pastime Athletic Club, and, although
he was a roly-poly, fat little boy, he often won the standing high
jump by means of his handicap, and even the hundred-yard dash.

What with all our jumps and shot-puttings and dashes and heel-and-
toe walks, that tennis-court had a hard time, and Mr. Macy's men
had about all they could do to repair it.  Meanwhile Mr. Macy
himself began to have a hard time with Father.  Father had taken a
deep interest in the park--deeper than we felt it deserved, and
much deeper than Mr. Macy seemed to find quite convenient.  Mr.
Macy liked his tenants to appreciate and admire his park, but he
turned out to be unreceptive to advice about changing it.

He had fenced in all the roads he had built, with fences of neat
iron posts, strung with wires.  Father said these were ugly.  Those
roads, he said, should be lined with hedges.  Mr. Macy said he
didn't want hedges.  Father looked up the best kinds and
recommended privet as most suitable for Mr. Macy.

The roads were surfaced with coarse bits of bluestone which had
sharp, cutting edges.

This bluestone was supposed to get ground down gradually till it
made a hard road-bed.  As it didn't get ground down as evenly as it
should, Mr. Macy was always renewing it, and dumping loads of fresh
stone on the bad places--stone with fresh cutting edges.  This was
hard on shoes, bicycles, horses' feet and the thin rubber tyres we
had on one of our carriages.  Father looked up the best kinds of
surfacing and recommended trap-rock.

Many years later Mr. Macy became a convert to privet, and planted
the borders of all his roads with fresh green hedges--which really
was an improvement.  But he stuck to his bluestone, and Father and
he were still arguing away about trap-rock, pro and con, when the
automobile era overtook them and put them both out of date.

Meanwhile, even that very first summer, Father said he liked
Harrison, and he found that he liked it better and better the
longer he stayed.  He began to talk about buying a place there, to
settle down in for good.  He considered making Mr. Macy an offer
for one of his cottages.  He liked Mr. Macy, and, in spite of all
the advice that Father tendered, Mr. Macy liked him.  But somehow
there didn't seem to be room for them both in the same park.

Adjoining the park was an old run-down forty-acre farm belonging to
a farmer named Smith.  Mr. Macy regarded this farm as an eye-sore
and he greatly desired to buy it.  The difficulty was that he found
Mr. Smith hard to deal with.  Mr. Smith was one of the oldest
inhabitants of that section, and he didn't like it when he heard
down at the post office that his farm had been called an eye-sore.
Year in and year out he had refused even to listen to offers.  His
farm was not for sale.  For some reason or other however he turned
out to be willing to talk the matter over with Father.

Father wanted to buy that piece of land.  He climbed over the old
stone wall night after night to have a chat with Mr. Smith, and see
whether they could come to terms.  He always came back from these
visits fervently declaring that he didn't like farms.  He said that
farming might be all right enough if it was carried on properly but
the trouble was that it usually wasn't.  He talked disparagingly
about the ragged overalls that most farmers wore, and their slouchy
way of walking and talking.  On our horseback rides in the back
country, when we passed by a farm, Father would point out its
neglected, unpainted sheds and say, "Pah!  What a damned low-class
way of living!"

I didn't agree with him.  Boys were always kept dressed up in those
days, and some of them didn't mind it, but I could never master the
secret of feeling at ease in fine clothes.  I even had secret
leanings toward overalls, and the more ragged the better.  I liked
to see a long dripping watering trough in a farmyard, and horses
pushing their noses into the water, with their traces knotted up at
their sides.  I liked to watch cows lounging along as they filed
into a barn, and hay bursting out of a hay-mow and noisy chickens
crowding around a back door to be fed.

There was one farm I especially liked where we sometimes bought
cider.  I knew old Eben Sedley who ran it, and when I was out on a
ride by myself I used to stop there and listen to him.  I was a
city boy, I knew nothing whatever about how a plough handle felt,
and Mr. Sedley's remarks about his corn or his potatoes were
meaningless to me, but as he talked on I somehow understood that he
was engaged in a long and strange struggle, and that the force he
was struggling with, Nature, was too big to control.  He reminded
me of Amos, the whaler, with whom I had talked in New London.  I
respected men like farmers and sailors who worked with the soil or
at sea.  They seemed to me to have a look of long-suffering
endurance about them, as though they had learned not to be much
surprised by calamities.

Of course I said nothing to Father about any of this.  Father
seemed to regard all calamities as things that must be controlled.
They were manifestations of a rebellious and unruly spirit in
nature.  They were a species of intentional perverseness which
mankind ought to discipline.  He often said that old Eben Sedley
was shiftless and slack, and that Mr. Smith wasn't much better, and
that if he, Father, ever succeeded in buying Mr. Smith's farm, it
wouldn't be long before that piece of land wouldn't know itself.

In spite of Father's objections to farms, he said he was fond of
the country.  He liked fresh country air.  He liked to gallop on
horseback along shady lanes and dirt roads.  The roads had to smell
right, however.  They could smell of hay, for example, or flowers,
but they must by no means smell of pigs.  The trouble was that
every once in so often they did smell of pigs.  Father would then
declare that this was intolerable, and demand to be informed why
such a nuisance was allowed to exist.

I never felt sure myself whether Father liked the country or not.
When it was on its good behaviour he did, but whenever it wasn't he
was rather severe with the country.  His attitude toward it wasn't
quietly stoical, like Mr. Sedley's; Father was a far more hearty
lord of the soil, and a great deal more hectoring.

He especially disapproved of the country wherever it was wild and
uncultivated.  It ought at least to have trees growing on it or
animals grazing.  He was not interested in wasteland, he said.  He
had no objection at all to allowing the sea to be wild.  The sea,
like the air, was an element, and wildness was suitable to it.
Father would not have felt at home with tame elements or enjoyed
living among them.  Good, roaring, wet, tempestuous winds and rough
seas gave him pleasure.  But the land was another matter entirely.
The land was more female.  Its duty was to bring forth its fruits
in abundance for Father, not forgetting additional supplies of hay
and oats for our horses.  Land should do all this readily too, and
give men well-flavoured products.  If it didn't, Father despised
either the fields or the spineless fellows who tilled them for not
being firm with those fields and making them do what they should.

Father's feeling toward old Mother Earth in short was not
sentimental.  He was prepared to be very fond of her, but only if
she did her part.

When he and I got back from our ride together, early one morning,
Mr. Smith was waiting to see him.  I dismounted and went on indoors
to breakfast.  In a few minutes Father came in too and said to
Mother, "It's settled.  I've bought it."  The Smiths, I learned a
day later, would move away the next month; and after that, even if
Nature continued to misbehave elsewhere, it looked as though she'd
have to mind her p's and q's on Father's new farm.


Father's first coachman, Morgan, had never been a coachman before.
He had worked in the Riding Club's stables and it was there that we
got to know him.  He seemed to be just the right man for us, but
the one objection was that he had no livery.  Father blamed him for
this.  In fact he came near not taking him.  The idea seemed to be
that a man who had no livery wasn't a genuine coachman.  All
genuine coachmen had liveries, just as all good dogs had collars.
Morgan said, "Where would I be getting a livery, sir?  A man like
meself hasn't the money, and I never heard tell of any coachman
that bought his own anyhow."  Mother said that then he should have
brought a livery from his previous place.  Morgan touched his
forelock and respectfully explained to us that this wasn't done,
and that anyway the livery hadn't belonged to him but to the Riding

None of Father's New England ancestors had ever had a coachman in
livery.  Father felt it was a great expense.  He said he didn't
like it.  But as it was considered impossible for a coachman to
drive our dog-cart, or even sit on the back seat, without wearing a
high hat and a white ascot tie and either a bright green or blue
suit, with nickel-plated buttons, Father sent Morgan to a medium-
priced shop to get his outfit.  He saw to it, too, that Morgan's
suit was of good strong material, so that he never would have to
buy him another livery for a great many years.

Morgan was an alert, hopeful man, and we liked him, but he had done
better as a stableman at the Riding Club than he did as a coachman.
So long as we had only two horses and a dog-cart he got along
pretty well, but when in the course of time we got a third horse
the strain made him nervous.  He had always been fond of his
liquor, it appeared.  Now he got so he depended on it.  As a
result, coming to New York on the night boat from the country one
autumn, feeling weighed down with the duties and responsibilities
we had placed on his shoulders by entrusting him with three costly
horses and Topsy the cat, he sat up all night trying to keep his
eyes open and dismally drowning his worries.  When he arrived in
New York in the morning and came to report on his journey, he stood
in the hall, pale and speechless, staring vacantly at us, then
collapsed on the hat-rack, in tears, and confessed that Topsy was

He was immediately discharged, and he stayed discharged for over a
week, all of which time he spent--or declared to us that he spent--
on the boat, making inquiries and running down clues, but in vain,
for Topsy never was found.

One night he surreptitiously came back to our house with a basket.
He was let in the basement door without our knowing it.  He left
the basket and fled.  Margaret, the cook, then came upstairs, with
her lips tightly pursed and yet with a pleading look on her face,
and asked Father and Mother if they would please kindly step down
to the kitchen.  We all trooped down at once.  There, on the floor,
in Topsy's old basket, was a new-born lamb.

"What's this miserable thing?" Father demanded.

We boys poked at the strange object, curiously.  It shut its eyes
and said, "Ba-a."

Margaret said Morgan had told her that he had got this lamb at the
butcher's.  He had apparently intended it to be a peace offering.
It wasn't taken as such.  If Morgan had been present, he would have
been discharged all over again and for good, for daring to
incommode Father with this attempt at atonement.

The Day family didn't know what on earth to do with that lamb.
They couldn't bring themselves to connive at its murder and send it
back to the butcher.  Yet to bring up a lamb on Madison Avenue
seemed quite a problem.  We boys were all in favour of keeping it,
hoping that it soon would grow up and become a great big ram with
curved horns.  We planned to chase it up and down stairs, and sic
it at other boys, and hide it underneath the piano.  At the moment
however it was so weak and wobbly that it could hardly stand up.
It just lay in its basket beside the kitchen range and plaintively
bleated for milk.

Margaret petted it and warmed up saucers of milk for it, and
offered to let us feed it too.  We boys didn't see any fun in
feeding warm milk to a lamb.  We wanted to put its basket upside
down on top of it, as we'd done with Topsy, and then poke it up and
make it drag the basket around on the floor.  When Margaret stood
her ground and shooed us off, we had to drop that idea, but we felt
that she was depriving the lamb of having any good times at all.

It ended in the lamb's being sent out to Audubon Park, a tract of
wooded land between the Hudson River and what is now upper
Broadway, where Aunty Jane's country home was.  Tall apartment
houses and the Hispanic Museum are standing to-day where that lamb
used to nibble the grass, alongside my cousins' pet rabbits.

Morgan was taken back as our coachman after a suitable period,
during which he was supposed to be sitting in purgatory and
cleansing himself of his sins, but still he was never quite
forgiven for losing old Topsy.  He worried about it; he knew he was
under a cloud.  Furthermore we had discharged him so often that it
had dampened his spirits.  Iron discipline, which strengthens some
natures, had completely floored Morgan's.  He grew worse and worse.
Father had kept him years longer than he wanted to, because of that
livery.  He now at last hardened his heart and told Morgan to go.

In choosing a new man Father and Mother tried to be guided by their
experience.  They decided that there were two fixed requirements
that they must now keep in mind, aside from honesty, industry,
steadiness and knowing how to take care of horses.  One was that
the man must be a total abstainer who hated strong drink, and the
other was that in order to wear that livery he must be the same
size as Morgan.

A series of men, all of wrong sizes came to our house, one by one,
and put on Morgan's livery in the basement before coming upstairs
to be interviewed.  They one and all insisted that it was a good
fit.  Tall men whose bare wrists hung down, red and hairy, below
Morgan's coat-cuffs, came boldly upstairs like scarecrows, trying
in vain to look natty.  Little men appeared with only the tips of
their fingers showing and the coat flapping around them.  All had
their fists full of good references that smelled of horses and
harness dressing, and if these references were to be believed, not
a man of them ever got drunk.

They were all sent away.  Whether it was that the marks of drink
showed on them, in spite of their references, or whether they made
too disreputable an appearance in poor Morgan's livery, none of
them quite suited Father.  They didn't look right, he said.  The
only one of them who seemed really eligible was a severe and
respectable man who came up from the basement carrying Morgan's
coat on his arm.  It would fit him, he said, but he would prefer
not to wear it.  He wanted a new one.  He was sent packing
instantly for having high and lofty ideas.

Another man with excellent references came the very next evening.
He was a round jolly man with an honest eye.  Father said after
questioning him that he could see he knew horses.  His name was
O'Dowd, and in addition to his references he had brought a
certificate with him, signed by two parish priests, saying that the
bearer had a wonderful character and never touched liquor.  The
only objection to him was that he was fatter than Morgan.  He had
managed to squeeze himself into Morgan's coat somehow, however, and
although some of the buttons wouldn't button he said "it could be
easy let out," and furthermore it would take him no time at all to
train down.  He chuckled and said all he needed was plenty of work.

As he seemed to have the right attitude about this, O'Dowd was
engaged, on the distinct understanding however that his weight must
come down at once.  He immediately went into training.  He drew in
his stomach every time Mother looked at him, and he rubbed his
hands with delight when Father bought a new pair of horses, which
made five in all, a stanhope and a victoria to add to our dog-cart,
and a new set of harness.  O'Dowd busily trotted around the stable
attending to these, and said that with all that to do surely any
man would peel like an onion.

Mother kept declaring that she couldn't see that he got any
thinner.  She complained that he "bulged."  Sitting behind him
every day in the victoria while he drove her about, she noticed
this much more than Father, who used the stanhope and drove his
horses himself.  She also said that O'Dowd had the largest ears a
man ever had.  This was probably true.  At any rate, as they stuck
out straight, they looked it.  They were red, thick and hairy, and
on some afternoons they got redder, when Mother, sitting below
looking up at them, couldn't get her mind off them, and made some
remark about their unfortunate size to a friend.

Another objection to O'Dowd was that he had too many children.  He
had three when he came, and although he was warned to stop they
kept coming until he had seven.  There were more little O'Dowds on
the Day place than there were little Day boys.

O'Dowd was instructed to keep them close to the stable, and on no
account to let them be seen near the garden or lawn.  This left
them practically no place to play but the manure pit and paddock.
One or another of them was always venturing out to trespass on
those forbidden acres when no one was watching, and scampering
wildly back through the bushes when his crime was discovered.

The eldest boy, Morris, was held to blame, by both O'Dowd and
ourselves, for every bit of disgraceful behaviour on the part of
his little' brothers.  He was a thin, lanky boy, with sad eyes and
a querulous voice.  As O'Dowd had all he could do, grooming the
horses, cleaning the harness, and driving, the responsibilities of
fatherhood fell more and more upon Morris.  "The melancholy
Morris," as Mother sympathetically called him.  When the district
school opened in the fall, we would sometimes come upon a
procession of small O'Dowds on the road, led by their pale eldest
brother, walking to or from the dingy, wooden schoolhouse.  By that
time all youngness had gone out of Morris, and he walked with a
round-shouldered stoop.

The district school was not far from our place.  It was rickety-
looking and old.  One summer evening a citizens' meeting was held
in it, to vote on building a new little school-house with modern
improvements.  Father heard of this at the last moment, just in
time to walk to the school after dinner and enter a protest.  He
had paid enough taxes as it was, he told Mother he didn't propose
to pay any more.

He found that the meeting was in full swing as he went in the door.
A man with a loud bellowing voice was haranguing those present,
urging them to vote for this splendid and much-needed improvement.
He had seven fine children to send to it himself, he declaimed, and
if God was good to him maybe he'd have seven more.

The room was so thick with pipe and cigar smoke that it was hard to
make faces out, and Father could scarcely believe at first that it
was O'Dowd who was bellowing.  None of us had ever heard his voice
raised above a respectful low key.  But it was he, no mistake.
"O'Dowd!" Father called sharply.  "What are you doing here?  Stop
that damned noise at once."

It was the voice of authority, and this was the nineties.  O'Dowd
wilted, touched his forelock, said "Yes, sir," and looked for his

"Go outside and wait," Father said.

"That man isn't a citizen of Harrison," Father said to the meeting.
"He doesn't pay taxes.  I do.  What is all this nonsense about?
The property owners of this neighbourhood don't want a new school."

"Mr. O'Dowd said he wanted it," somebody got up and said.

Father stared at him, and motioned him with his cane to sit down.
"O'Dowd is my coachman," he said.  "He doesn't know what he wants.
There's no one else in my part of the township who has any children
to send.  And if a new school is put up in my neighbourhood and I
move away, there will be no O'Dowds to go to it either.  I move
that this plan be quashed."

A citizen who wanted a new school over on his side of the township,
instead of on ours, quickly seconded the motion.  There was no more
debate.  It was carried.

Father walked home angrily and in silence, with O'Dowd in the rear.
At our gate Father halted.  He had put up, in spite of Mother's
objections, with O'Dowd staying fat, he had permitted this
ungrateful man to bulge, year after year, on the box, he had
striven to overlook his criminal carelessness in having too many
children, and now if it hadn't been for Father's promptness, O'Dowd
would have raised Father's taxes.  "What have you to say for
yourself?" Father asked him.

O'Dowd had been thinking things over.  "I niver thought of the
taxes, sir," he explained.  "It won't happen again."

It didn't look at that time as though the O'Dowds would ever pay
taxes themselves.  The blackest part of their family outlook was
the stupidity of poor Morris.  O'Dowd shook his head over Morris.
"He's not taking to the horses," he said.

Neither Morris nor any of the rest of us knew in those days that
the era of coachmen was ending, and the era of automobiles was
about to begin.  When it came, the melancholy Morris, who had never
liked horses, woke up.  He had apparently been born with an
instinctive love for gasoline engines.  If they hadn't been
invented, he'd have gone through life as a second-rate coachman or
maybe a failure.  As it was, he became one of the best of the very
first crop of chauffeurs.  He not only made better wages than any
old coachman, he was regularly taken to Europe, where he drove his
employer through countries that no other O'Dowd of his line had
seen.  One of his brothers went along as a helper, on the third of
these trips--Patrick Gorman O'Dowd, who had been the most impish
and wild of the lot, as a boy, but who later became a two-hundred-
pound plumber, with a big gold watch and chain.  Patrick didn't
care much for scenery, and he had a poor opinion of Europe.  He
inspected it thoroughly, but only from one point of view.  "The
plumbing in some of them castles there," he told me, years
afterwards, "would make any decent American ashamed to be using
it."  He looked around to make sure that no lady was near who might
hear him, cupped his hand to my ear, and wheezed in a shocked,
portly whisper, "Just a hole in the wall."


Mother never thought of the horse as the friend and companion of
man.  She looked at all horses suspiciously.  Perhaps they were not
wild animals, in the sense in which lions and zebras were wild, but
still there was something strange about them.  They weren't really
tame, like our dogs.  She loved dogs.  She liked ponies too, they
were more our own size, but horses were too large to be trusted,
and they had ironshod feet.

Once in a while she grew fond of some special horse after she had
watched it for years, but even then she never undertook to drive it
herself.  Driving was a man's job.  That didn't mean that she
thought men in general were good drivers, however.  Mother hadn't
any more confidence in men in general than she had in horses.  Men
were always assuring her that they knew how to do this or that,
when they didn't at all.  If it had been safe to do so, she would
have liked to trust herself in their hands, it would have been so
convenient, for as she was a woman she felt that she had to have
certain things done for her.  But men, although stronger, were
childish.  They greatly over-estimated their ability as drivers,
for instance.  All of them firmly believed that they understood
horses, whereas Mother knew better.  When she saw a horse and a man
having trouble, she privately bet on the horse.

In the nineties everybody used horses--if in no other way at least
in horse-cars and buses.  Our family needed several every summer
when we lived in the country.  One was reserved solely as a saddle-
horse for Father to ride.  Father rode early every morning before
breakfast and then took a train to the city.  The other horses were
used for all sorts of things.  What with catching trains, mornings,
and meeting them again, afternoons, and going for the mail, or
taking some of us down to the beach, or trotting along the dusty
country roads with Mother when she paid an afternoon call on some
friend three or four miles away, or when she went to the village to
shop, our horses were kept pretty busy, and when one of them had to
be turned out to rest, it was hard on the others.

Mother at last went to Father about it.  She said that things had
come to a point where we had to have one more horse.

Father said, "The trouble with you, Vinnie, is that you don't use
enough forethought.  You don't plan these things out.  With a
little careful management you can get along with what we have now."

Mother replied that there wasn't a woman on earth who could plan
every minute, and she'd like to see forethought pull the station-
wagon when Brownie went lame, but if we used Father's saddle-horse
in the dog-cart perhaps that would do.

From Father's point of view this was blasphemous.  "Any time that I
can't have even one horse in condition to ride," he told Mother,
"I'll sell the whole lot of them, hide and hair, and the family can
walk.  Do 'em good."

He got thinking things over after this conversation however, and
made up his mind that he'd better do something about it and look
around for some decent animal that could be got cheap.  He heard of
one soon at the club, a dark brown, muscular mare.

The member of the club who owned her had gone abroad and couldn't
be reached.  He had posted the mare for sale with the cryptic
phrase, "Warranted sound."  The usual guarantee, when there was
any, was "Warranted sound, kind and willing," but we thought that
perhaps the omission was inadvertent.  The price was low.  Father
bought her.

This mare's name was Uarda, a strange name, but somehow it fitted
her.  We heard later that an Egyptian princess named Uarda, of evil
repute, had lived a bad life in some dynasty centuries back.
Whether Uarda the mare had come from Egypt too, nobody knew.  She
looked it, however.  She looked like the horse of some genie in the
Arabian Nights.  She was slithery, bony and lean, and her coat had
a glitter, and her eyes were unnaturally greenish and wild and

There was plenty of work in her.  She never went lame or got tired.
She seemed made of steel.  Sudden sights or sounds that made other
horses shy, Uarda ignored.  She was wholly without fear, and there
wasn't an ounce of love in her either.  She was oblivious of the
Day family, and not interested in her surroundings.

O'Dowd the coachman was frankly afraid of her.  "She's always
brooding, sir," he whispered to Father, as though she could
understand what he said and revenge herself on him.  She certainly
had a remote and contemptuous look.

Uarda's contempt could be seen in her eye.  Her hatred she
expressed with her tail.  All carriage horses were docked in those
days, many of them too much, but Uarda from O'Dowd's point of view
hadn't been docked enough.  She had an extra long bone in her tail,
he explained, and it had only been shortened a trifle.  And the
muscle in her tail, which was strong as steel, hadn't been nicked.
The purpose of nicking the under muscle was to weaken it, so that a
horse's little bobbed tail would stand cocked up and look stylish,
and aside from looks there was a practical advantage to this,
because it prevented a horse from catching a rein under his tail
and clamping it down.  When that happened, he couldn't be reined in
or guided, and now and then that led to a runaway or some bad

Humanitarians were always denouncing men who docked horses' tails.
A horse with a docked tail was helpless in fly-time, they argued,
and when it was chopped off it hurt.  Father pished at these
arguments.  He said that it wasn't his fault if there were flies in
the world, and that nobody wept over him when his teeth were
chopped by the dentist.

He wouldn't have a horse docked himself though.  He simply bought
them that way.  When O'Dowd wanted Uarda's tail shortened, Father
wouldn't allow it.  O'Dowd shook his head over this.  He said we'd
live to regret it.

We came to see what he meant.  As Uarda sullenly trotted along,
thinking of sin, or black magic, she would flail her tail round and
round powerfully, like a propeller.  Sooner or later, no matter how
careful O'Dowd was, she'd catch a rein under it, and hold that rein
tight as a vice.  With some horses you could watch till the muscle
relaxed for a moment and then vigorously yank the rein out, but no
one could do this with Uarda.  The only thing to do was to reach
over the dashboard and yank at her tail, and yank hard with all
your strength too, and yank over and over, hoping that she wouldn't
lash out and kick you before you got the rein loose.  This was an
undignified performance to go through, and O'Dowd felt it shamed
him in public.

What mortified him still more was the way Mother behaved at such
moments.  At the very first sign of trouble Mother's one idea was
to get out of the carriage just as quick as she could.  She
couldn't jump, her skirts were too long and voluminous and there
were too many petticoats under them, but she could and did shout to
O'Dowd to stop, at the top of her voice, and then gather up her
dress in one hand and clutch at the arm of the seat and feel around
with her foot for the inadequate little round metal steps, which
always seemed so high from the ground when she hadn't any
horseblock to step out on to, and then while the springy surrey was
shaking, and giving a bit on one side, she would precariously
descend in a hurry, getting dust or mud on her skirts from the
wheel, and more on her high buttoned shoes in the old-fashioned
dirt road.

Standing there in safety she would stare at O'Dowd while he yanked.
She would also make comments.  When this happened way off on some
deserted road it wasn't so bad, but sometimes it happened on
Purchase Street in Rye, where other coachmen were watching, or
outside old Mr. Raser's store opposite the station in Harrison.
"Mercy on us, what takes you so LONG, O'Dowd?" Mother would cry.
"If you can't drive any better than that, why don't you say so?"

O'Dowd was a good-natured soul, but he knew he could drive as well
as most coachmen, and he used to get silently exasperated on these
occasions.  It was useless for him, though, to attempt to lay the
blame upon Uarda, or to say he had never seen such a horse in all
his born days.  "Never mind about all your born days, O'Dowd,"
Mother would tell him impatiently.  "That horse knows more than you
do, this minute, and I should think that you'd be ashamed to sit
there and admit it."

As O'Dowd had never even dreamt of admitting it, this kind of
attack used to stagger him.  "I know as much as any horse in the
stable, Mum," he would begin, in confusion.

"But you ought to know MORE than an animal!" Mother would interrupt
swiftly.  "That's what we pay you your wages for, O'Dowd.  You're a
MAN, not a horse.  If you don't know any more than our horses you
ought not to be driving them.  It really isn't safe for me to go
out with you."

"Not an accident have I ever had on my soul, Mrs. Day, in all the
twenty years that--"

"You'll have one this very minute if you can't get that rein out,"
Mother would interrupt sharply.

As O'Dowd knew that this was highly probable he would concentrate
upon Uarda, and when he had got her under control again Mother
would climb back into the carriage, still talking, and off they
would go.

Somehow O'Dowd never seemed to feel any resentment toward Mother,
after a scene of this sort.  He understood Mother.  His hostility
was all toward that mare.  On Uarda's bad days he got into such a
bitter state, as he drove her about, that he used to carry on a one-
sided conversation with her, in a low growling mutter.  "Oho!
That's the way of it, is it?  Trying it on me again!  Ye
blackhearted Eye-gyptian!  Bad scran to ye, ye limb of the Divil,

After a while he invented an arrangement of buckles and straps,
which moored Uarda's tail to the shafts.  This contraption left her
tail just leeway enough for her to arch it but kept her from
flailing it around or getting it over the reins.  She was in a cold
fury about it.  O'Dowd wore a broad grin.

These moorings were so elaborate that they were unsightly, however.
They looked very odd.  Mother complained that everyone stared at
them, which was perfectly true.  People even asked questions.  Mr.
Read, who was a judge at the horse show, and who had supposed
himself to be familiar with every kind of harness there was,
couldn't get his eyes off them when Mother went to call on his wife
and when he came forward to help her get out at his door.  "Ah," he
said, staring fixedly at the bright silver buckle in the middle of
Uarda's slick tail, and the leather shrouds and stays that led down
from it to either shaft, "Ah!  May I ask what this--er--?  Why

"Oh, don't pay any attention to that, Mr. Read," Mother answered.
"Our coachman seems to feel he can't drive without it.  It's just
some idea of O'Dowd's."  And she hurried up the piazza steps,
leaving O'Dowd red and speechless, and taking Mr. Read with her, so
mystified by what he had seen and so baffled for the moment by
Mother that he became speechless too.

As for Father, he said it was a disgusting arrangement, the first
time he saw it, and he ordered O'Dowd to "remove that infernal
rigging at once."  But the fact remained that when we used them,
those straps were effective, and every time we went out without
them, we got into trouble.  Uarda never actually ran away when she
got a rein under her tail, but she never would quite admit that she
wasn't going to bolt, and she had such a wicked look about her that
we knew things were dangerous.  We all gradually came to tolerate
letting O'Dowd strap her up, even Father.  There was really only
one safe alternative, when he left O'Dowd home and drove us around
in the low surrey himself, and that was to hold the reins up very
high, at the level almost of his nose.  Father couldn't and
wouldn't do that.

One day Father and Mother and George and I were out in the surrey.
Father was driving of course, and I was sitting beside him on the
front seat.  Uarda was in a vile mood.  Her tail strained at
O'Dowd's straps and buckles.  It writhed like a snake.  Two or
three miles from home she triumphantly tore it loose.  "Oh, Oh!"
Mother wailed.

"Be quiet, confound it," said Father.  "Clarence, can you strap it
down again?"

I got out and tried but I couldn't strap it securely enough.  Only
O'Dowd knew the secret.  No matter how I adjusted the buckles and
hauled on the straps, Uarda contemptuously flicked her tail out.
"Take it off altogether," Father ordered.  "We'll never get home at
this rate."

"I want to get out then," said Mother.  "I'd much rather walk."

Father gritted his teeth.  "Sit still," he said sharply.  "I've
driven horses since I was a boy."

Back-seat driving was invented long before motors, and when Mother
was nervous she had a really deadly gift for this art.  She tried
to control herself that afternoon, at Father's repeated requests,
but she couldn't.  Uarda's tail was too much for her.

"I only bought this horse to please your mother," Father said in a
loud, oratorical tone, as though he were making a speech,
addressing his sons and the landscape in general as Uarda trotted
along, "and if I ever saw any animal that came straight from hell--"

"She's swishing it, Clare," Mother called to him.

"She can swish and be hanged," Father said, feeling that he had his
hands full, fore and aft, with these two unmanageable females who
were spoiling his drive.

"Look out!  Look out, Clare dear!"

"Vinnie, will you keep still!"

"I'm trying to, darling," screamed Mother, "but that awful horse--
Oh!  Oh!  Look OUT!"

Father cut at Uarda's flanks with the whip.

"Clare!  DO please be careful!"

"I AM being careful.  Be quiet."

"There she goes again!  Oh Clare, let me out!"

"See here," Father said to her sternly, turning half-around in his
seat, "if you cannot control yourself--"

Swish!  Uarda's tail caught the rein.

Father swore and leaned forward and pulled on it.  Uarda came to a
stop.  We were on our way up a long hill at the moment, and Father
had just begun walking her.  Luckily for us, she now decided it was
a good place to rest.

Father jerked at the rein twice more--once cautiously, and once
with more force.  Uarda held it clamped tight to her rump.  Her
ears went back.  She snorted.

"Oh mercy!  Let me get out of this!" Mother shrieked, and climbed
down on to the road.  "Come on, Georgie!"

George jumped out beside her.  It was a narrow road with a ditch on
each side.  She scrambled across the ditch to safety, and stood on
the steep grassy bank.

Father felt deeply insulted at this lack of confidence in him.  His
blood surged to his face, his eyes popped with passion.  He stood
up, facing a little sidewise, took the rein in both hands, set his
jaws, and gave one mighty yank.  At that very instant Uarda, with
the skill of a demon, let go.  Father fell over backward out of the
surrey and crashed into the ditch.

Mother screamed.

I leaned over the dashboard and got the reins.  George ran to help
Father.  Uarda tossed her head and stood still.

Father rose from the ditch, muddy yet somehow majestic, and said to
us, "It was your mother."

"Why, CLARE!" Mother shouted indignantly from the opposite bank.


The house next to ours on the north, No. 422 Madison Avenue,
belonged to the Robinsons.  No. 418 on our other side was occupied
by the Higginses.  These three little houses were squeezed so
tightly together that they had a combined frontage of only about
sixty feet.  The three families in them, not having been
introduced, never spoke.  They could have, of course, if they had
wanted to, but none of them did.  Instead, they merely bowed to
each other, in a blank, distant way, and neither the Higginses nor
the Robinsons ever entered our doors during the twenty-five years
that we lived there, nor did we enter theirs.  The Robinsons looked
down on us; and we looked down on the Higginses.

Mr. Douglas Robinson wasn't an ordinary Robinson.  He had an estate
in West Virginia which he had inherited from the Monroes, and he
also had a large house called The Mansion, in the Mohawk Valley,
near Herkimer.  He was in the real-estate business, and when he
formed a partnership with his friend, Mr. Brown, later on, he
couldn't bring himself to let the firm be called Robinson, Brown &
Co., so their names were printed in full, "Douglas Robinson,
Charles S. Brown & Co.," on every one of their signs.  They were
such an active firm and they had so many signs that this name
became famous.  It was this Mr. Brown, by the way, who afterward
founded Brown, Wheelock & Co.

Mr. Robinson's wife was a dignified but lively young lady who had
been Miss Corinne Roosevelt.  She knew how to write poetry, turn
cartwheels and stand on her head.  Not that we ever saw her do any
of these, though I longed to.  She was the sister of a youth named
Theodore Roosevelt who was getting to be active in politics, and
who talked too much, Father said.  Later, he became President.
Distinguished visitors often went up and down the steps of 422.

There was nothing distinguished about Mr. Higgins, who lived in
418.  He was an undersized, depressed-looking man with lanky side-
whiskers who was in the insurance business.  His house had a
mortgage on it, and Father said that he looked it.

Father said that all solid, substantial men owned their own homes.
"There must be something the matter with Higgins," he said.  "I
don't wish to have anything whatever to do with the fellow."

Nevertheless we had a good deal to do with him, although he never
knew it.  Our house and his, instead of each having a wall of its
own, had only one thin wall between them.  After we moved into 420
Father began saying that the Higginses made too much noise.  What
the Higginses thought of all our noises I never knew.  They had no
piano, no children, no quarrels, and it seemed to me they kept very
quiet, except that now and then we heard a faint sound resembling a

Father disliked this intensely.  He had always lived in solider
houses, and he wasn't used to hearing sounds of any sort come
through a wall.  It interfered with the feeling of privacy that a
house ought to have.  No matter how meekly and politely Mr. Higgins
might sneeze, Father said that it was simply intolerable, and that
it must be the dust in his whiskers.

Some nights, Mr. Higgins was out.  On others, perhaps he succeeded
in controlling himself.  But every time a sudden, subdued "A-choo"
floated into our dining-room, Father would set down his claret
glass, turn around in his chair, glare fixedly at the wall, and
indignantly say to us:  "There he goes!  Sneezing again!"

The only two places where we ever heard Mr. Higgins were the dining-
room and the front hall.  Our hall had a solemnly dramatic
atmosphere about it to all of us boys, because that was where the
black hat-rack stood, at the foot of our stairs, and it was usually
there that we got spanked.

As this hat-rack was the first thing that visitors saw when they
entered, it had to be, and was, most impressive.  It consisted of a
long, black walnut chest, low enough to sit down on, hidden away in
which were all the family's galoshes and rubbers and two or three
baseballs.  Mounted on this chest was a mirror, seven feet high and
five wide, in a fluted black-walnut frame, and this frame had a
spreading carved canopy overhanging on top.  At each side were some
gleaming brass pegs, long and straight, on which hung Father's
hats; and under these were two umbrella racks with deep brass pans

In the dining-room there was a black walnut sideboard, much broader
and fatter than the hat-rack, and with an even loftier top.  At the
other end of the room, facing this sideboard, was a combination
mantel and mirror.  The mirror ran up nearly all the way to the
high ceiling, and when I climbed up on a chair I could see the
black sideboard in it.  On each end of the mantel was a heavily
ornamented bronze urn, about two feet high, to match Uncle Hal's
immense bronze clock which stood in between them.  And in the
centre of the dining-room, between the mantel and the sideboard,
was a great round black walnut table.

Dark red curtains hung in the windows.  There was a thick red rug
on the floor.  The lower three or four feet of the walls was
painted a deep chocolate colour.  Above that they were a dull
bronze, with a Grecian pattern made of flat strips of felt moulded
on them in relief.  Two gory battle scenes and a crayon portrait
hung on these walls.  The cheeriest thing in the room was the
fireplace.  It was a rather small one however, with a little brass
grate in it, and the overhang of the mantelpiece dwarfed it.

Every evening from six to seven o'clock, while Father and Mother
were having their dinner, this dining-room became as sacred a scene,
in my eyes, as a high court or shrine--although owing to the
imperfections of the service and Father's temper it was considerably
noisier.  I sometimes leaned over the banisters in the narrow hall
outside, looking down in through the doorway.

After seven, when the table had been cleared away and covered with
a Turkish cloth of soft reds and gold, we boys went trooping in.
The dining-room became a sitting-room then.  It was the one room in
the house where we all met.  It wasn't nearly as commodious as the
parlour but nobody ever went into the parlour, except of course to
play the piano, or when visitors made formal calls.

One November night when I had had a birthday and was seven years
old, Father said that I was now old enough to join him and Mother
at dinner, and sit at the dining-room table.  I strutted around in
the nursery beforehand, with my hands thrust into my pants pockets,
saying good-bye to my brothers, who, as I condescendingly explained
to them, were still little boys.  George would have to wait two
solid years before HE was promoted, I told him, and the others of
course even longer.  I then went down to dinner.

In our dining-room, I found almost at once that the honour I had
won was a hollow one.  It was also oppressive.  The free and easy
interchange which I had been used to at my meals with my brothers,
down in the basement, was gone.  I had been cock of the roost in
the basement but now I had to keep still, and respectfully say Yes
sir and No sir, and submit to being taught what seemed to me many
superfluous manners.  I had to use plain china too instead of the
interesting kind we had in the basement, where one of my brothers
had a saucer with a picture of a cotton-field on it, and the other
had one depicting a train on the Central Pacific, making its way
through herds of buffalo to some remote place called "the Coast."
My own saucer had been better still.  It had no picture on it at
all, which of course was unfortunate, but to console me for its
barrenness in this respect, it had a flavour of glory.  It bore the
arms and insignia of the Seventh Regiment, done in dull red and
gold; and Margaret, our cook, had told me (quite erroneously) that
it had "gone through the War."

On one of my first stately but saucerless nights in the dining-
room, we had turnips for dinner.  Father noticed that I didn't take
any.  "Have some turnip," he said.

I was happily stowing away several flaky boiled potatoes with bits
of green parsley on them, and a chunk of hot juicy steak.  "No,
thank you, Father," I said, and foolishly added, "I never eat

He laid down his fork and stared at me in amusement.  "You will
begin now, then," he told me.

"I don't like it, Father."

"I'll tell you what you like and what you don't like," he said.
"You're not old enough to know about such things," he added, and
although his tone was peremptory his look wasn't unkind.  "You've
no business not to like turnip.  It's good."

I said that I hated it.

"That's enough," he said.  "We won't discuss it."  He took the dish
and deposited on my plate two generous tablespoonfuls of mashed

I looked longingly at my steak and potatoes.  They seemed more
delicious than ever.  I put a little turnip on my fork and raised
it to my mouth, but as the smell got nearer my nose I felt so
repelled that I put the fork down again.

Father was watching me.  He said:  "Eat that turnip.  At once."

The sadness of an exile on some foreign shore flooded my heart.  I
thought of how gay it had been in the basement.  "I don't WANT to
eat it!" I wailed.  "I'd rather go without dinner, Father!"  I
pushed back my chair and stood up, suddenly ablaze with rebellion.

Father roared at me, "Sit down, sir!"  I wouldn't.  He was now
ablaze too.  Mother gave a frightened cry and begged us to stop.

She couldn't ever bear to have Father and me clash with each other.
But Father didn't much care whether she could bear it or not, when
his temper was hot, and the next instant he was leading me off by
the ear down the hall toward the hat-rack.

When we got there he sat himself down on it, laid me across his
knees, lifted my jacket, and gave me a spanking.  After he had
finished we rose and returned to the dining-room.

I then began eating my turnip.

Mother looked sympathetic but said nothing.  The table was still.
Father sat back, puffing a little from his recent exertions.  I was
boiling with rage.  This occasion was a turning point, I fear, in
my relations with Father.  I could see no sense in being made to
eat turnip, and Father didn't explain.  He never explained
anything, I discovered.  It didn't seem to him necessary.  I on the
other hand, although open to reasoning, no matter how specious,
always felt full of combativeness and obstinacy when an order
seemed arbitrary.  The fact that Father loved me and cherished me
and worked and planned for my welfare meant nothing to me, as a
boy, when he ordered me around.  If I had received only cold
justice from him I'd have wanted affection.  As it was I
undervalued his affection because I thought him unjust.  The taste
of that turnip choked me; it was sickening.  I sobbed as I tried to
swallow it.

Then a faint sound came through the wall.  Compared to the noise I
had made on the hat-rack it was only a faraway whisper, but it came
from 418, it was an intrusion, and Father promptly resented it.

"Damn that Higgins!" he said.

He turned half around in his chair and sternly frowned at the wall.

I had been waiting for just such a chance and had my handkerchief
ready.  I quickly slid the rest of my turnip off into my lap.


Mother was a curious anomaly in her generation.  For one thing, she
never learned to cook.  Just to go into a kitchen put her in a
helpless confusion.  It seemed simpler to her to go hungry than to
try to do anything with all those hopeless-looking ingredients that
sit around on kitchen shelves.  Now if it were a matter of sewing
on buttons or darning socks, Mother could do that, but she never
sewed for the fun of it, or made fine lace covers like Grandma
Stockwell, or knitted.

When we children were sick she used to take care of us.  But when
Father had a cold and wanted to be taken care of, Mother said,
"That's enough, Clare.  It seems to me you are making a fuss about
that cold."  Of course Father wanted a great deal of care, and if
he was not getting it every moment he lay on his bed and groaned.
After he had groaned long enough, Mother would go in, rather upset
and touched, and lean over him for a moment.  "There, there,
Clare," she would say.  "What can I do for you?"

"DO!" Father roared.  "No one does anything.  What I want is
something to cure this cold."

Now and again Mother would rub his back, and Father loved it.  It
was attention, and sometimes it was soothing, even though her
method was to make rather quick, short dashes up and down the
spine.  However, just as Father began to relax and close his eyes,
Mother's own back would commence to ache, bending over him and she
would then feel that she had been rubbing a good long time.  As she
straightened up briskly, giving one last rub, she destroyed
whatever small rhythm she had achieved before.

"Oh, damn," Father would say.

"Clare!" Mother would cry.  "Just after I have been rubbing your
back for you."

"But you had only just begun," Father would say.

"Heavens, Clare!  Nobody has their back rubbed all day long,"
Mother would reply as she tucked in the sheet.

It wasn't that Mother took Father's or anyone else's sickness
lightly.  It was only that she had a quick nature and hated to be
handled herself.  If she were ill, all she asked was for people to
keep out of her room.  But if one of her loved ones felt bad, she
was instantly worried and concerned.

One afternoon in the late summer, when we were still in the country
at Harrison, she was troubled because Father would not go to bed
although he was obviously miserable with a cold.

"Clare, do go and take a hot bath.  I'll have Matilda make you some
hot lemonade."

Father answered stiffly that he was all right if she would only
leave him alone.

"But you are not all right," Mother said.  "Your eyes are watering,
and your nose is red, and you are all stopped up."

"I tell you it's passing," Father said hotly.  "Let's play a game
of bezique."  His voice was thick and hoarse.

Mother hesitated.  She really ought to send him to bed, but she did
love to play bezique.  She ended by acquiescing.

He and Mother sat down near me in front of the fire.  They had
opened the game box and were about to play when the waitress
appeared, begging our pardon for disturbing us.

"It's the mare, sir.  She's got loose again and all the men have
gone and it's Neville's day off."

"Can't you see that Mr. Day has a cold, Annie," Mother said, "and
can't go out after horses?  Why don't they keep the mare in her
stall like the other horses?"

Mother knew as well as any of us did that the mare, Uarda, had a
bad way of slipping her halter and stealing out into the rocky
pasture across the road, where she would eat grass quietly enough
until someone came within about a foot of her, when she would
slither off and commence eating again about ten feet away.  She was
apparently unaware of anyone around, but there was a malicious
glint in her eye.  She would keep up this teasing for a while, then
suddenly permit herself to be caught and be led quietly back to the
stable.  Although catching her was a nuisance, and needed more than
one person, the proceeding was in no way dangerous.

Father and I got up to go out and Mother said she might as well
come too.  She tried to make Father put on his coat, but he shook
his head impatiently, saying that it only took a moment to catch
the horse.

To our right lay the cornfield.  Father had liked the corn he had
in the garden so much that he had tried a whole field of it.  It
had not been successful; for one thing, the Italians across the
tracks stole a lot, and then it had not grown the way it should.
As we came along now the earth looked thin and cold, the corn
weary.  "You see that corn?" Father said.

"Oh, don't get started about that corn now, Clare," Mother cried.
"Let's get that mare out of here first."

Father insisted on crossing the field at right angles to the way it
was ploughed, stepping over each furrow.  He and I could do it
easily, of course, but Mother disliked it, and it was hard on fat
Fritz, the dachshund; his legs were so short at each end and his
body so low-slung in the middle.  Looking back, I could see him
heaving over the furrows, like a ship out at sea, and leap as he
would, each furrow scraped his poor, plump little paunch as he
plunged up and over.

It took a little longer to catch the mare than Father had thought,
but soon we were on the way back with her.

"Corn," Father said on the way back, as we again came through the
cornfield, "should be green.  Green is, I believe, the customary
colour for its leaves and its stalks.  Why should all the corn that
is planted in my fields be yellow from birth?  I know what my corn
ought to look like.  But it doesn't seem to.  Every time that I
talk about corn to the farmer, HE talks about bugs.  He has the
utmost difficulty in finding me a good healthy stalk, with good
healthy ears of corn on it that my family can eat, but it's no
trouble at all to him to find the stalks on which he grows bugs.
'I engaged you,' I tell him, 'as a farmer, and I expect you to
farm.  When I want an entomologist I'll send for one.  What I want
now is something to eat!'"

"That's enough, Clare," said Mother.  "You're getting hoarse."

Father tightened his lips, looking hurt.  "Nobody on this whole
place cares a hang about things except me," he said, scowling
around at his fields.  His eye lit on Fritz.  His scowl
disappeared.  "That's taking a pound or two off him, I'll wager,"
he chuckled.

The next day Father's cold was so much worse that Mother sent for
Dr. Markoe.  Dr. Markoe was a famous and very busy surgeon, but
Father had been one of his early patients when he was just starting
his career and still in general practice.  Although Dr. Markoe had
announced that he was giving up medicine, Father had seen no need
for changing doctors just because his doctor had added what Father
called a side line.  So, most unwillingly, and often with a real
feeling that a general medical man would be more fitting for the
particular case, Dr. Markoe continued to treat not only Father but
the rest of us for our measles, typhoid fever, or ordinary colds.
When Dr. Markoe died we were left stranded, and for years had no
regular doctor at all.

That morning Dr. Markoe had an important operation, and as Father's
symptoms were not bad enough for him to leave his surgical patient
and come out to the country, he gave Mother a list of instructions,
among them that she was to make Father a mustard plaster.

If Mother had had a recipe for making a mustard plaster all would
have been well.  But she had none, and although nowadays anyone can
walk into a drugstore and ask for a mustard plaster which will come
all prepared and dried on a piece of paper or cloth, in those days
plasters were mixed at home by women who usually grew up knowing
that the recipe called for at least as much flour as mustard in the
mixture.  Mother, however, had never made one.  It seemed simple
enough to her, so she sent for a spoon, a bowl, some mustard and
some water, and mixed a thick paste.

Father, in the meanwhile, was watching the proceedings with
interest.  As she spread a linen cloth on his chest and began to
cover it with her thick paste of pure mustard he was already
envisaging prompt relief from the congestion in his chest.  In a
few seconds the mixture began to soak through.  Father's roars were
loud and immediate.  Mother paid no attention, but continued to
spread her mixture, making sure that it was plentiful and even.

"Damn!  Vinnie!  I say--oh, God!  Vinnie, stop!"

"Clare, do be still.  You know I have to do this."

"But Vinnie.  Take that stuff off--you're burning me up, I say.
Stop it!"

But Mother knew what she was meant to do, so despite Father's
alarming shrieks she kept right on.  A mustard plaster always
burns, and Father always roared at any slight discomfort.

Father's anguish was real this time, but he always made so much
noise anyway, no one believed him.

Dr. Markoe had told Mother just how many minutes to leave the
plaster on Father's chest, and no amount of swearing or roaring
stirred Mother into taking it off one minute sooner.  At the end of
that time, when the plaster was removed, to her horror Father's
skin came with it, and Dr. Markoe had to come out after all.


There were two special things that it was considered chic to have,
in good New York homes, in the eighties.  One of these was a fat
pug dog with a ribbon around his neck, tied in a bow.  The other
was a rubber tree.

Father's instinct was to do the right thing, and to live in the
right way, according to the ideas of his times, but he drew the
line at pug dogs.  He said he had owned dogs himself as a boy, and
he wasn't fussy about their breeds either, but "I must positively
decline," he told Mother, "to begin domesticating monstrosities."
He said he doubted whether pugs were dogs anyhow.  They looked too
Chinese.  He said that quite possibly in China they filled a niche
of their own, though he couldn't guess what, but no pop-eyed pug
dog would ever be permitted to waddle around Father's home.

As to rubber trees, he was still more emphatic.  He said he liked
to be cheerful himself and to live in cheerful surroundings, and of
all the disconsolate plants in the world a rubber tree was the most
dismal.  A rubber tree wasn't a tree, it was nothing but a stick
with three leaves on it, and why or how such an unsightly plant had
ever become a craze was a mystery.

The trouble was that Mother felt a longing for these two things,
she didn't know why.  She saw pug dogs and rubber trees everywhere
but in her own home, and gradually her home came to seem bare.
When visitors looked around the parlour it embarrassed her.  They
were too polite to say, "Where's your rubber tree?" but she was
sure they were thinking it.

On Christmas morning Father found one of his socks fastened with a
bent pin to his mantelpiece.  It had a small china dish in it.  His
one hope and prayer was not be given anything whatever on
Christmas, but he recognized this thing.  "Why, this is my soap-
dish," he said.  "What's it doing here, damn it?"

Mother's eyes were sparkling with mischief.  "I thought you might
need it, Clare dear," she said sweetly, "when you were feeding your
nice new pug dog."

She pointed to what looked like a hat box, done up in red ribbons.
Father opened it and took out the tissue paper.  A life-sized pug
dog, made of china, was sitting inside.

"Hah!" Father said in relief.  This objet d'art wasn't beautiful by
any means, it was in the way and it was awkwardly large, but it
wasn't alive.  He could stand it.

Mother adored that pug dog.  And as it was such a handsome piece of
china, she said, and had cost her so much, she had to think
carefully where would be the best place to put it.  After trying
several sites she decided on a place in the parlour, facing the
door as you came in.  For years and years there it sat on the
floor, where it deceived and amazed Mother's visitors.  They
exclaimed in delight at its lifelike appearance and its big bulging
eyes.  Mother added to the effect by tying a broad red satin bow
round its neck.

A rubber tree followed.  A real one.  It was hidden in the narrow
hall bedroom next to Mother's, at first, and spoken of as "the new
plant," and by the time that Father became suspicious enough to
investigate, it was practically a member of the family, the way
Mother felt, and she couldn't be parted from it.  After a battle or
two, Father made up his mind that he needn't bother because the
lanky thing would soon die, and until then he might as well ignore
it, as he did the imitation pug dog.

That rubber tree seemed to me a most lugubrious object to look at.
It had had five dark green leaves when it came, but three of these
soon turned a horrible mottled yellow and dried up and died.  After
that nothing happened to it for weeks.  It just stood there, with
its thin, twisty stem tied for support to the bookcase, sullenly
drinking up all the water Mother poured into its pot, and looking
more utterly forlorn and sick of this world every day.

Mother however had plenty of determination and spirit, whether her
tree had or not, and her will at last prevailed.  The rubber tree
still looked to me quite as doleful as ever, but it took up the
burden of existence once more and put out a new leaf.  A more
tedious and deliberate unfolding of a bud I'd never seen.  Mother
didn't mind how slow it was.  It was responding to her, and that
made her happy.  As soon as the new leaf had uncurled itself and
spread itself out, the rubber tree was borne downstairs in state to
the parlour, to stand on an Empire table by the china pug dog.

After dinner, Mother took Father's arm, coaxingly, and led him in
there to look at it.  He stood, smoking his cigar, and watching her
as she cooed over it and patted its little new leaf.  "Don't smoke
too near it, Clare dear," she said, over her shoulder.  Father
stroked his moustache, said "Humph," and walked thoughtfully back
to the dining-room.  He winked at me presently and said, "Your
mother has a very warm heart."

A year or two later, when the rubber tree began to get tall, it was
replanted in a much larger flower pot, and put in a tray on the
floor; and as time passed by and as it kept growing, it was given a
green wooden tub.  It went with us to the country every summer and
came back in the fall.  It was as much trouble and worry, almost,
as a baby.

The only possible way to transport it on these two annual trips was
to entrust it to Morgan, the coachman, to take in the dogcart.
Morgan hated that rubber tree.  It had a good many leaves on it
now, but if even one fell off Mother missed it.  Morgan explained
that neither he nor all the angels could keep a dog-cart from
joggling, but Mother said she knew that very well, and that was why
she had reminded him specially that he must walk the horse, and
three large leaves were missing from the bottom this time and two
from the top.

I was sorry for Mother because I knew how she watched over that
tree and loved every leaf, but I also felt sorry for Morgan.  I had
heard other coachmen make fun of him.  On these trips he had to
drive one horse in the dog-cart and lead two others behind.  He had
to stow quite a sizable cargo on and under the seats: his livery,
his high hat, his bedding, light and heavy blankets for each of the
horses, curry-combs, cloths and brushes, buckets, hoof-picks, two
saddles, several bridles, a bag full of bits of old harness, and
Topsy, the cat.  Morgan used to arrive at our front door in town
with everything on board except the rubber tree and old Topsy, find
room for these too, and unhappily drive off down Madison Avenue,
feeling very conspicuous.  Topsy, who didn't like Morgan, yowled
and wailed in her basket, and the rubber tree, sitting beside him,
was now eight feet high.

His destination, and ours, every summer was New London, a hundred
and twenty-five miles away.  We went on the train of course.
Morgan and the horses and Topsy went on the night boat.  I never
knew, nor could I manage to picture to myself, what kind of a time
Morgan had.  A veil was drawn over those dark experiences.  All I
knew was that Morgan and his caravan arrived a day after we did,
the animals dejected and dingy, and Morgan dejected and drunk.

If it hadn't been for the rubber tree, which according to Mother's
orders he had to deliver at once, Morgan wouldn't have had to
exhibit himself to us in this state.  He could have gone direct to
the large boarding stables and slept himself sober.  As it was, he
was faced with a problem that he could never quite solve, the
problem of how a man in his cups could get a rubber tree out of a
dog-cart and carry it up a tar path and into a cottage, without

He tried being jaunty about it.  He tried being hearty and jolly.
But as he was in reality profoundly depressed, by what he had gone
through on the boat, his attempts to be pleasant rang hollow.  They
sounded slightly insane.  When he tried being grave and judicial
instead, he alarmed Mother dreadfully by his sweeping gestures and
his important-looking nods of the head.  "For Heaven's sake,
Morgan," she would cry, "do get out of this cottage.  Don't stand
there by my poor rubber tree wagging your head at me that way."

The next day Morgan always had to go through a long, trying
session.  It began with his being discharged, and it ended with his
taking the pledge.  This consisted of his solemn assurance that he
would never again touch a drop.  He freely invoked on himself the
most picturesque dooms if he did.  "May the Mother of God tear the
gullet out of me, bless her sweet heart, the very next drop I take,
Mrs. Day, and I won't take it neither."  He would continue in a
loud, rising scale with his eyes fixed upon Mother's, until he
reached a crescendo of fervour that convinced her, and that I think
convinced him.

"Morgan," she said, at the end of one such interview.

Morgan respectfully touched his hat.  "Yes, mum?"

"You don't deserve it, but I'll try to believe you once more."

"Yes mum, thank you, Mrs. Day," Morgan replied, looking brighter.

"But if you should ever DARE," Mother vehemently added, "to take
another drink of that wicked stuff I hope it will CHOKE you!"

Morgan paled.  "I hope not, mum," he hastily muttered, again
touching his hat.

After we got a place of our own in the country where the tree had
more room to grow than ever, it grew far too much.  It stood on the
piazza, in the one place that wasn't roofed over, and it became so
tall that its upper branches reached to the second-floor window.
This window unfortunately was Father's.  He began to complain.  He
said that damned tree was too noisy.  He said he had built himself
a home in the country, at great expense, so as to have some peace
and quiet, instead of which here was an outlandish rubber tree
tapping on his window all night.

Mother got prouder and prouder of it, the taller it grew.  She
began busily cutting slips from it and planting numbers of these in
new pots, all the way around the piazza.  These slips were tall but
weedy and weak.  Every one of them had to be tied to one of the
piazza's square wooden pillars.

The old original tree was now far too big to go into our city home
any more.  It had to be left in a greenhouse belonging to Mr. Fremd
in the winters, and it lived with us only in summer.  It would have
been out of place in town anyhow.  The rubber tree craze had ended
long since, and all the pug dogs of New York were gone, too.  Those
once-popular animals had completely disappeared from the city, even
our china one, which one of us boys had broken.  New fads had
sprung up.  One was for "favrile glass" which Louis Tiffany made
lamps of, and another was for old-fashioned warming-pans.  Mother
of course had one of each.  Her favrile lamp was in the shape of a
swollen and adipose lily, glittering with curious hues, far more
hues and more glitter than Solomon had in all his glory.  Her
warming-pan, which she had bought somewhere in New England, had
been fixed up to match.  Its honest old oaken handle had been
stained to look like polished mahogany, and a broad red satin
ribbon was tied in a bow-knot around it, like that which the pug
dog had worn.

Mother was not one to be fickle however, and she was faithful to
her rubber tree still.  It was on her mind all the time.  When we
moved up to the country each spring, that tree was the first thing
she greeted.

It was becoming quite a job for her to water it sufficiently, on
account of its size, and this was particularly difficult when there
was a drought.  What made it so hard at such times, at least in
Mother's eyes, was Father's bath.  Drought or no drought, he said,
he had to have his cold bath every morning.  Mother said that her
tree would die and he wouldn't, and what was his answer to that?
His answer was that he had always taken a bath every day of his

For years he had tried to get Mother to take an icy plunge too.  As
he grew older he said less about it, but he took a tubbing himself
just the same.  Mother said that if he insisted on a daily bath,
even in droughts, he must leave the water standing in his tub so
that it could be used for her rubber tree.

Father let her use it but he didn't like it.  He said Mother was
messy.  She tracked water all over his floor, he said, when she
walked back and forth, filling her pitcher from his tub and then
pouring it out of his bedroom window to splash it on top of that
tree.  Mother said she didn't splash the water, and had not tracked
up his floor, and when Father pointed indignantly to the pools and
wet spots by his sofa, she said that those were just a few drops
from the outside of the pitcher.

One cold, dark autumn morning, Father was longer than usual taking
his bath.  The water was icy, and things hadn't been going well
with him, and altogether he wasn't feeling as vigorous as usual
that morning.  When Mother dipped her pitcher into his bathtub she
found that it wasn't cold.  He had secretly warmed it a little to
take off some of its chill.

"Why, Clare!" she laughed.  "I thought you were such a stickler for
taking cold baths!"

"Damnation!" said Father.  "Get out of my bathroom.  Leave my
bathtub alone!  I swear to God no man ever had so much to bear from
a rubber tree."

Mr. Fremd, although he was a professional nursery-man, felt the
same way.  He was getting tired of the rubber tree too.  One
winter, without telling Mother, he cut off its top.  In May, when
his wagon climbed our hill again, bringing back his maimed victim,
and when Mother expressed the grief and fury she felt at his
conduct, Mr. Fremd was defiant.  He had simply had to do it, he
said.  The roof of his greenhouse wasn't high enough for that tree
any more.  Mother quarrelled with him about this.  She warned him
that he must never again behave like that to her plants, and that
summer she helped the old tree to regain its full height.  Mr.
Fremd retaliated, the following winter, by keeping it lying flat on
its side for the seven or eight months that he had it.  He said,
what else could he do.  That was the only way he could get it
indoors.  From that time on the tree spent over half of each year
lying down, never standing up except in the summers, and it
gradually became rather towzled.

When this strange pet of Mother's had finally completely outgrown
her, and when she had vainly appealed for help to all of her
friends, she happened one evening to hear my brother George speak
of the Marsh Botanical Garden at Yale.  The next I knew she had
presented the Botanical Garden with her rubber tree.  They tried to
explain to her that they didn't have any rubber trees, but this did
them no good, it only made Mother the prouder to bestow hers upon
them.  Her one stipulation was that as the coachman couldn't very
well drive it all the way up to New Haven, the Marsh Botanical
Garden must come down to Harrison and get it themselves.  To my
private astonishment they apparently did so.  Although years later
George told me that he had hired a truck for the purpose, letting
Mother believe that the University had done so, as he knew that
Mother would never have been willing to let George do it--or to do
it herself.  And George was unwilling to have the University pay.
The last I saw of our tree was its top sticking way out of the rear
of a Forestry truck, rounding a turn down the road.


Mother had a strong and instinctive desire to play her role to the
full.  If she had been the queen of a court, she'd have started
right in being regal and gracious, stirring up the lord
chamberlain, and making sure the king toed the mark.  Anything that
it was customary for an energetic queen to attend to, Mother would
have at once had a go at.  So just as soon as Father had laid out
the grounds of his new home in the country, and Mother could see
that there was something more to it than a lot of mess and workmen,
she christened the place Upland Farm and determined to fill a
useful role there.

She was handicapped because she really didn't know anything about
farms or farming.  As to the proper method of growing crops in a
field, that was a mystery to her, and anyhow it was a man's job.
Even our vegetable garden was too large a problem for her to
tackle.  What she liked to do was to grow flowers in little pots on
the piazza.  This got to be a department in itself, she had so many
pots, and they all had to be watered.  On hot summer nights after
the gardener had finished his other work, we would hear his
unwilling footsteps around the corner of the house as he came to
fill the big watering can at the faucet near the steps.  However,
if there was a drought the gardener said these plants were not
important.  Mother would then bestir herself to preserve their
lives by taking water out to them herself.

Though this was interesting enough as an occupation, it did not
give her a role.  Of course there was the moving back and forth--
and Mother felt no one understood the magnitude of this task--but
it was an exceptional thing that only overtook one twice a year.
And most of the impending catastrophes were avoided anyway.  When
Father discovered that the jar of preserved strawberries had been
packed with the tea and his cheese in a wash boiler with many other
articles, and remonstrated, Mother knew of so many more dangerous
packages than the strawberries that she brushed him aside with the
remark that as nothing had happened to anything, why was he making
all this talk.

However, almost any situation has a role in it for a wide-awake
woman, and Mother finally found hers through prodding up Father and
the farmer to make Upland Farm more and more farmlike, so that the
name would seem right and fitting to others.  Of course the very
first year there had been a kitchen garden, but it wasn't enough
for her to serve vegetables from our garden at dinner, and tell her
guests triumphantly that the peas had come right out of our own pea
patch, and promise to march them down after dessert and show them
the beans, too, and the place where the melons were to have been if
they hadn't all dried up in infancy.  This sort of thing didn't
content her, because we didn't have enough guests.

We boys benefited at first from her extension of the production of
vegetables because we used to take all that we could lay our hands
on and drive off in the farm cart and sell them.  This opportunity
to earn money so easily made up in part to us for our former
summers at New London; but it was not destined to last, for we
found before long that there did not seem to be so many vegetables
that wouldn't be missed.  We also discovered that our market was
being spoiled, for we soon noticed that Mother would go out in the
victoria, dressed in her fresh, ruffled dresses, and holding her
lace parasols so as to shade her face, and make calls on her
friends in the afternoon.  With her she would carry a basket of
vegetables to those who had no garden of their own, or, to the more
fortunate, something not to be found in their garden.  The next
morning when four red-headed and freckled boys drove up to sell
their vegetables, all the houses would be mysteriously stocked.

But it was the cows who gave Mother her first real responsibility
in her role of chtelaine.  At first there had been only one cow,
but there had come a time when she went dry.  In order to avoid any
such stoppage of our milk supply, the next year a second cow had
been added; as the years went on, more cows were about the place.
Father bought a fancy one to improve the stock, or kept a heifer
until finally there were always five.

When we first settled there, Harrison was out in the country, but
little by little it became a suburb.  The farms, old and new,
disappeared.  Even the parklike estates were split up into smaller
holdings or turned into clubs.  Almost none of our neighbours had
barns or kept cows any more.  It was easier to buy milk and butter.
Mother didn't like to depend on bottled milk, though, and as she
also was proud of our butter, she clung to all our cows.

Father and Mother had no use for five cows, especially when the
time came that they were alone on the place; but by that time, each
of the cows had become a member of the family, even the two cranky
ones and the stupid old white one which none of us liked.

For a while it was a problem to get the milk down daily to the city
for the family use during the winter.  Express companies, while
willing to take on the order, did not feel they had to be at our
house at any appointed hour to deliver a can of milk.  Mother, who
had to deal with the cook, felt strongly they should be.  Certainly
the time for milk to come to any house was early in the morning--
everybody knew that.

However, right near the Grand Central station was a grocery store
the family had used for years, a comfortable, established firm.
There they mixed Father's coffee just to his taste, and saw to it
that his cigars were right.  As the station checking system for
parcels was not as well arranged then as now, old customers left
their bundles behind the grocery-store counters to be called for
later in the day.  I can't remember how or why, but we once left a
grandfather's clock there for over a year.  The name of this long-
suffering grocer was Charles.

Since the store was so near the station, Mother felt that it would
be no trouble at all to them to have a man run over and get our can
of milk off the train from Harrison and send it up to the house
with the first delivery.  Perhaps it was because the family had
traded for a long time with them, or perhaps because they had been
accustomed for an equally long time to Mother's and Father's
difficult requests; at any rate, they consented to do this.  The
arrangement worked very well for us, but if Charles' was so
unfortunate as to be only half an hour late in delivering the can,
they were called right up and scolded roundly.  If the farmer did
not put the can on the usual train, or if it was delayed, Charles'
found themselves not only apologizing but anxiously meeting each
train from Harrison until the milk arrived.  They would then send a
man straight up to our house on a special trip with the can.

Meanwhile the cows gave milk--more milk than the family knew what
to do with.  The farmer and the coachman and their children and
wives were chock-full of it.  So were the chickens and the pigs.
Moreover, Mother did not play her part--she lived it, and she
insisted that all the milk be set for cream.  This meant that in
summer the cream became pretty sour by the time the farmer got
around to churning a large part of it into butter.  We none of us
thought of complaining about the taste of the butter, except one of
my brothers, who always loathed it.

When the family got smaller, we not only had too much butter, but
the house was drowned in cream.  Great bowls and pitcherfuls would
come on the table.  Mother, knowing about all the cream down in the
dairy waiting to be churned, would wearily order any cream that was
left after luncheon to be brought out on the porch.  There she
would sit on a broiling hot day whipping it into butter.  Sometimes
the butter was obstinate and Mother would have to leave it while
she went and changed her dress so as to be ready for callers in the
afternoon.  On those days, when visitors drove up they would find
Mother sitting there in her chair still beating away.

There were two things about our butter that prevented it from being
really good.  One was that Father had started out with the best of
pedigreed Jersey stock.  This strain of cow gives delicious rich
milk and cream, but the butter has a strong taste.  The second was
that our farmer never washed the butter sufficiently to take all of
the buttermilk out of it.  The colour, however, was always
beautiful and both Mother and the farmer took great pride in never
having to use any artificial colouring matter to give it that rich,
golden look.

By the time the family had been reduced to just Mother and Father
and they had grown old and had fewer and fewer guests, Mother found
that the butter was not only a responsibility but a real problem.
Some of it she gave away to friends who were sick or poor.  There
were one or two families, however, who were rich and who, Mother
felt, could well afford to buy themselves nice fresh country
butter.  I don't know whether they really intended to do so, but at
any rate they did buy our butter.  And Mother was very particular
that these orders should never fail to be delivered.  When she
returned to town from her weekly trips to the country, one of the
most precious articles she carried with her was a large stone crock
which was placed in the car last, because on the way home the
chauffeur would have to stop at Mrs. Dickerman's and walk up to the
door, bearing in his arms, patiently or disdainfully according to
the nature of the chauffeur, this large earthenware crock full of
round pats of butter.  If these friends did not like the butter,
they never said so; therefore Mother continued to be serene about
bestowing it as a special privilege.

Once, some especially bankerish and well-tailored people came to
dine.  They were English friends of my brother who had never liked
the butter.  They innocently asked if there was anything they could
take back to England, where he was now living, in the country.
Mother was equal to any emergency of that variety and instantly
took them up on this offer.

The day they sailed home Mother stopped in to see me at my
apartment in town and spoke of how kind they were.

"What did you send?" I asked.

"Why," said Mother, "I sent him some of the farm butter."

I had seen these people; tall, slim, elegant.  They had no wrinkles
in their clothes and their manners were studied and quiet.  I had a
quick vision of their carrying something rather bulkily wrapped in
brown paper, for Mother, although she dearly loved to do up
parcels, had never the patience to make them come out just right.
I hoped that they would be able to get it from the ship's
refrigerator to my brother quickly, so that no tell-tale grease
spots would greet my brother's eye as he put out his hand to
receive this gift.

"Don't you think you might have sent something else?" I asked.
"They rather specialize in fresh butter over there."

"But not our butter from Harrison," Mother proudly answered.


Father wanted to buy a home that would be permanent.  He had been
married five years, and he felt that it was high time to settle
down once and for all.  The little house at 251 Madison Avenue,
which had been all right for a young bride and groom, was getting
too small, now that there were boys in the family.

Grandpa Day smiled and told Mother that there was no such thing in
New York as permanence, and that he had been forced out of four
comfortable homes in his day.  Father agreed that this had been so
in the old days, and he also admitted that of course the town was
bound to keep growing, but he thought that a man who picked the
right district could now settle down.

Every respectable citizen in the seventies owned his own house.  A
decent three- or four-storey house, unencumbered by mortgages, and
situated within one or possibly two blocks of Fifth Avenue--and it
oughtn't to be above Fifty-ninth Street or below Washington Square.
Those were the usual requirements.

Father looked around carefully, he got the most expert advice that
he could, and then he used his best judgment.  As a result, he
selected and bought 420 Madison Avenue.  This was a sunny house,
just below Forty-ninth Street, it was fairly near Central Park, and
it was in a new and eligible district for good private residences.
Brokers said that "the permanent residential quality of that whole
section" was guaranteed by the fine public edifices which had been
built in the neighbourhood.  St. Luke's Hospital stood on Fifth
Avenue, from Fifty-fourth Street to Fifty-fifth, surrounded by big,
shady trees and a broad grassy lawn.  St. Patrick's Cathedral, at
Fiftieth Street, had been recently dedicated.  And Columbia College
and its campus occupied a whole city block from Forty-ninth Street
to Fiftieth, and from Madison Avenue over to what is Park Avenue
now, but what was then a broad open cut full of locomotives and

In the seventies, there were almost no apartments, and people
didn't move nearly so frequently as they do to-day.  The old saying
was that three moves were as bad as a fire.  This move of ours from
251 to 420 bulked as large in my mind as the flight of the
Israelites from Egypt, all except the Red Sea, and they didn't have
to carry such heavy furniture as a Victorian family.

Mother used to tell us little stories about it for years.  As I
remember, the hardest thing to handle was Uncle Hal's clock--the
wedding present that he and Aunt Addie had given to Mother.  At the
top of this magnificent structure--which would have been more in
place, really, if it had been erected in Central Park--was seated a
robed and amply-built woman; below her was the clock face, and on
each side, lower down, was a man, one of whom had a hammer, and
both of whom looked kind of cross.  I suppose it was an allegory of
some sort, but I don't know what about.  The woman seemed to be in
favour of harmony, but the two men were not.  To save this massive
bronze statuary from injury Mother actually carried it up in a cab,
in her lap, bouncing about on the cobblestones, and then went back
for her five-months-old baby.

Our new home was a four-storey brown-stone-front house with a
stoop, and it had all the modern conveniences of 1879.  It had
gaslights in every room, even the cook's.  We used kerosene lamps
in the parlour, but that was only because the gas chandelier was
too high to light without climbing up on a step ladder.  There was
a convenient little gas jet even in the cellar, which didn't burn
very well to be sure, as it had only a small bluish flame, but
which saved us from bothering with candles, which struggled to
light up the ghostly pillars and dark silent shadows.  Another
convenience was that the big kitchen range had a grating in front
that slid open, and a mechanical shaker to let the cook stir the
coal fire.  There was a round little Dutch oven for basting
besides.  In the long whitewashed cellar there was a coal bin, a
wood bin, a wine closet, and barrels and barrels of potatoes and
cider and apples.  And there was a fine hot-air furnace that roared
and rattled and misbehaved itself wildly, which had to be wrestled
with by Margaret, the cook, and probed into by Father.  Most of the
rooms had fireplaces, too, which burned cannel coal or small logs,
and gave out a fragrant glow on chilly evenings.  The waitress was
always lugging a coal scuttle or an armful of logs up the stairs,
and until after we boys were older she had no one to help her.

On every floor except the fourth of the new house we had running
water, and there were two shining tin bathtubs--one for Father and
Mother and one for the rest of the family (three boys, Cousin
Julie, an occasional visitor, and later a nurse and new baby).  The
cook and waitress didn't have a bathtub, but there was a white
china water-pitcher and bowl in their bedroom, the same as in mine,
and off at one end of the cellar they had a cold little water

All the plumbing was completely boxed in, of course, except in the
cellar.  When we opened the great, stately door of Father's
bathroom and looked in there, in awe, all we saw was a long dark
mahogany case in which his tin bathtub shone, and a forbidding
mahogany structure beside it, three feet square and three high,
with a solid closed cover on top.  All the woodwork and trim of
this room was sombrely polished, not painted.  A pure white
Victorian bathrobe on a hook was the one touch of light.  The walls
were dark and the one little window was up in the high ceiling,
where it opened into a narrow interior airshaft.  The whole place
had a dim, brooding tone, like a crypt in a church.

There wasn't any washstand in the bathroom--that wasn't the custom--
but there was one in a box at each end of the passageway between
the two bedrooms.

In nearly every room there was a bell-pull which jerked at one of
the eight dangling bells that hung in a row in the kitchen.  In
each of the three upper hallways was a speaking tube too, and as
these also connected with the kitchen, Margaret, our cook, had her
hands full.  The way to use a tube was to blow into it vigorously,
ignoring the dust that flew out, until one of these blowings
succeeded in working the whistle which was affixed to the
mouthpiece below.  On hearing this whistle Margaret was supposed to
spring to the appropriate tube and shout loudly up it.  But
Margaret was so short that she had to climb up on a chair before
she could do this, and then, if it was the wrong tube, get down
again, move the chair, haul up all her petticoats once more to make
another climb, and when she had done all this howl up the next tube
instead.  By that time Father or Mother had lost patience and begun
pulling a bell, and Margaret would clump upstairs to answer it,
muttering to herself, "Such a house!"

On the first floor, a little above the street level, were the
dining-room, pantry and parlour.  On the second were Father's and
Mother's rooms.  The furniture in Father's room and in the dining-
room was dark and severe.  In Mother's room and the parlour it was
dark but ornamental or rich.  In all four of these rooms it was

Our quarters up on the third and fourth floors were more simple.
Little beds, light walls, plain hard carpets, and three shelves
full of toys.  Soldiers, building blocks, marbles, a Punch and Judy
show, and five red iron cars.  As we were all boys there were no
dolls of course, and we had no books by women authors.

Our toys were made for hard wear and tear, and they got plenty of
it.  It was only at Christmas that any additions were made to our
stock.  We knew every battered lead soldier individually, we knew
almost every nicked block, we could tell at a glance just which boy
every marble belonged to, except those made of clay which we called
migs.  And each brother had his own sacred place where his own toys
were kept, except when the waitress cleaned the room and mixed
everything up.

Our books were few but we read and reread them, Robinson Crusoe the
most.  Gulliver's Travels, Tanglewood Tales, King Solomon's Mines,
and Pilgrim's Progress came next.  Christian's adventures were more
exciting and real to me than anything in other story-books, and I
was especially taken with Appollyon and poor old Giant Despair.

Down below our nursery windows, on the sidewalk, was a little gas
lamp-post.  A German band of three or four pieces used to come of
an evening and stand under its flickering light, reading their
music, and tooting away on their horns.  We were thirsty for music,
there were no phonographs or radios then, and we huddled in the
window, squirming ecstatically, and listening to their stirring
marches.  Sometimes Father would stick his head out of the front
door and tell them to go away and be damned, but as soon as we
heard him shut it again we'd toss down our pennies, wrapped in
twisted bits of paper, so that they could see them, and they'd play
one more tune.

Down the murderously dark and steep flight of stairs from the
dining-room was the front basement.  We boys had our supper there
and sometimes we played games on the floor under Father's big
billiard table.

The daylight filtered in through an iron-barred window, which
looked out into our "area."  Sitting on the broad window seat, we
could see the legs and feet of passers-by walking along on the
sidewalk above.  On days when the postman was in a hurry or when
nobody answered the bell, he reached in his hand through the bars,
pushed this window up, and tossed in the letters.

On the mantel was a clock of black marble, shaped like a tomb from
the Nile.  On one wall was an engraving of Rosa Bonheur's rearing
horses being led to a fair.  Each of us boys had his favourite
horse in that cavalcade--in fact I had three.  On the opposite wall
was an engraving of Landseer's "Stag at Bay."  We stood and stared
at him in awe.  Our other heroes, Crusoe and Christian, and still
more of course Gulliver, in spite of all the adventures they had,
were somehow at heart pretty humdrum.  That stag was quite
different.  He was tragic and male and magnificent.

On the other side of the room from the stag was Father's brown
walnut desk, where he made entries in his ledger of investments, or
his household accounts.  His mood while he did this was cheerful,
if he and the country were prosperous.  In bad times he flung up
his head in defiance, and looked at bay, like the stag.

The top of the billiard table was kept covered with a grey rubber
cloth.  On nights when Father went down there after dinner and lit
the four hooded gas-lights and took off and folded up that cover,
the whole room seemed transformed.  The engravings on the walls
were in darkness, but the broad top and the gleaming rims of the
table were flooded with light.  A scarlet ivory ball and two white
ones rolled on this rich green expanse, and Father stood studying
them in his snowy-white shirt-sleeves, with his polished cue,
inlaid with mother-of-pearl, in his hand.

Years later when I read about how artistically the Japanese could
arrange single flowers, and how it made mandarins happy to stare at
Ming yellow, I thought of this scene in our basement.  It was my
introduction to beauty.

For the first ten or fifteen years that we lived in 420, the
neighbourhood got better and better.  Father's judgment as to its
permanence seemed fully justified.  It had become thickly planted
with residences in many of which friends of our family were making
their homes.  We had grown fond of 420 by that time.  Birth and
death and endless household events had taken place inside its
walls, and it had become a part of ourselves.

Then business began invading upper Fifth Avenue and spreading to
Madison.  A butcher bought a house near us and turned it into a
market.  We felt he was an impudent person and bought nothing from
him for months, until in an emergency Mother sent in there for a
rack of lamb chops.  We then discovered that this butcher was not
only an upstart, he was extremely expensive, and he was catering to
the fashionable Fifth Avenue families and didn't care a rap about
ours.  More and more of the old houses around us were made into
stores.  After 1900 some of the best people left, and soon that
whole district began steadily sliding downhill.

All these changes didn't at first seem as though they would last.
Many owners resisted them, hoping against hope year by year.  But
the Indians had to give way when the white men arrived, and when a
group of gigantic white buildings sprang up into the air at and
around Forty-second Street, most of the old brownstone houses in
our neighbourhood finally disappeared too.

Father held on to his as long as he could.  What drove him away at
last was the noise of the new street-cars all night.  The old horse-
cars had had something human about them--they wouldn't have been
much out of place even in ancient Rome.  In size and appearance
they fitted into the old human scale.  The new cars were monsters,
and the strident and unnatural din they made wrecked Father's
sleep.  After tossing actively around in his bed for what seemed to
him hours, swearing resentfully at the misery they had brought into
his life; he sometimes threw off his blankets and strode to the
open window, in his bare feet and nightshirt, and shook his fist at
them and yelled until he woke Mother up.

She slept in the back.  She offered to take his front room instead.
He would not give it up.  She begged him at least then to stuff his
ears full of cotton at night.  He said he would not go through such
indignities.  He seemed to feel that adopting her remedies would be
giving in to those street-cars.  He said he'd rather move and defy

It was years after we left, as it happened, before I went back
there.  Then one day I had an appointment to keep in an office on
the twelfth or thirteenth floor of the sky-scraper which had been
put up on that site.  We still owned the land and I knew there was
now a sky-scraper there, but I hadn't seen it, I'd been living out
West for some time, and after getting back I'd been ill.  On my way
down my mind was preoccupied by other things, and it wasn't until I
stepped out of my taxi that I took a look at the street.

My nerves or my brain cells must have been unconsciously full of
old memories, for apparently what I expected to find were two rows
of short houses, set well back from the sidewalks, with the
cheerful rattle of a wagon or two, or a cab, going by.  Instead of
that, there were what seemed to me immensely high ramparts that I
couldn't--from the street--see the tops of.  They rose up into the
air directly from the inner edge of the sidewalk.  I felt them
crowding against me.  In the street between these ramparts there
was a rushing bedlam of sound--hoots, roars, grindings, clashing.
And on those once quiet sidewalks where we had spun our tops and
slid down the railings, I found myself jostled by masses of
hurrying people.

On the corner where the three pretty Lyons girls used to live, in a
fat little house full of windows, there was a gigantic and grimy
white tower heaving up to the sky.  The sunny, irregular, red brick
buildings which Columbia College once occupied, the lamp-post where
the band used to play, even the flagstones were gone.

I went into the new and modern 420 and got into an elevator.  Up we
shot, past the floor where Father's four-poster and bureau had
been, past the level of the nursery and my bedroom, on and on, up
and up; and there, suspended almost in the clouds, high above our
old life, was the office where I had an appointment.  I don't know
why I felt dizzy.  I had been up in hundreds of sky-scrapers higher
than this.  I tried not to keep thinking of my childhood home, way
down below.  I pushed the button and in a moment the man inside
opened the door, as casually as though everything were perfectly
natural and he were living on solid earth.


When Mother was a girl she lived in a small town and journeys were
Great Events.  They were not to be undertaken lightly.  Although
later in life she travelled often she couldn't get over her early
feelings.  Nevertheless when she was nearly seventy she decided to
go and see her grandchildren in Europe.  Father was not well enough
to take the trip, so after getting him settled in Harrison she
started off by herself.

The house in town was all boarded up and watched over by the Holmes
patrol.  There was a large red seal on the door, and if anyone
tried to get in, a bell rang in the main office.  Of course if you
let them know beforehand the exact time you wanted to get in, a man
would come and open the house up; but the thought of all that red
tape and arranging made Mother tired even to think of it.  So she
always said to everyone:  "After the last things that go to the
country are taken down the steps, I walk out, and behind me comes
the Holmes man; and after that," here her voice sank to a whisper
and her eyes opened wide, "no one can get in until fall, not even

Since she felt the house in town was impossible, she had to spend
the night before sailing in an hotel.  Although she rather enjoyed
going to hotels in other cities she felt that going to an hotel in
New York was forlorn; as though she had no home or family.  However
a friend of hers said that she could have her apartment at 270 Park
Avenue, which would be much more homelike.

Wherever Mother went she had to have a personal contact.  When she
went to a store, for instance, she did not say she was going to
Wanamaker's, Altman's or Lord and Taylor's, she was going to "Miss
Smith's, at Lord and Taylor's you know."  Lord and Taylor did not
always care so much about this because Mother's favourite saleslady
had to sell her everything, gloves, dresses, coats or material by
the yard--whatever she had a mind to get in the store.  If it took
rather long to find the article Mother just put it down to the
general slowness of stores and waited with what patience she could
muster.  It was the same at 270 Park Avenue.

George had arranged to meet Mother at my apartment and from there
take her to 270 Park Avenue.  When they arrived, although Mother
had been there only long enough to leave her bags, and was to spend
but one night, he found everyone smiling and jumping around, acting
much more human than most New York apartment-house employees.

Mother was in high good humour as she introduced him to the
doorman, the bell boys, the clerk and the elevator man.  They could
now see that she wasn't alone; although she was to be alone there
for the night.  George said that they had evidently all been told
about "My son, Mr. George Day."

As she shepherded him in to see the apartment and have "a bit of a
talk," she was just like a child with a new toy.  She had to show
George both baths, the beds and chairs, the view and all the

It was something to see and enjoy however, not really to use, for a
little later she moved a chair to sit down and telephone me.  She
talked happily for a few minutes but as she got up she found she
had forgotten where the chair had come from.  "Oh my soul!" she
wailed, "it would never do to disarrange things!"

George left about eleven with the understanding that Philip,
Mother's chauffeur, would call for him at the Yale Club at quarter
to nine the next morning.  George, knowing Mother, however, was at
the door at eight-thirty, where sure enough he found Philip
waiting.  They hurried around to 270 Park Avenue where they were
just in time for Mother as she appeared at the front door with all
her luggage.

The drive down to the pier was comfortable.  As the boat did not
sail until noon even Mother felt that there was enough time to get
there if the traffic did not stop too much.

But at the dock a public porter took all the precious luggage,
paying no attention to Mother's cries that Philip would attend to
that.  Worse still, this rough-looking man did not keep it with him
but stolidly dumped it on an escalator which shot it up and out of
sight.  With no knowledge of whether or not she would ever see her
beloved things again, Mother was told to go with George up an
elevator.  What wore Mother out most was that she felt the public
porter did not hurry but slowly marched up the stairs taking no
pains at all to be at the top of the escalator by the time her bags
were there.  Anybody might walk off with them, leaving her an odd
assortment of unfamiliar things she did not want in the least.

Mother looked as though she were undecided whether to go on the
escalator herself with the bags, which she had planned to have
constantly in sight, or to run up the stairs after the public
porter.  George saved the situation by having the presence of mind
to seize hold of Mother's famous old black Gladstone bag and take
this into the passenger elevator.  The bag acted as a magnet to
draw Mother in after him.

When they arrived on the main floor the public porter was standing
there waiting for them with the other five bags, and was at once
taken into high favour.  All became peaceful as they marched down
to the gangway, but there new alarms arose.  For the public porter
was by now a private family retainer as it were, highly trusted and
indispensable.  But under regulations he had to leave the five bags
to be carried on board by stewards of the ship, who, while said to
be numerous, were not visible.  Furthermore, Mother as a passenger
had to go up one gangway, while George, as a visitor, had to go up

George pointed out that they both came out close together on the
deck above, so after she had had a conference with the ticket
inspectors and other officials which ended in their all laughing
together, she proceeded up her gangplank and George up his.  He
commandeered two stewards for the luggage, so that Mother and all
the bags and the stewards and George met at once in her stateroom
and promptly overflowed in the hallway.

Mother at once wailed that she was never going to be able to get in
the stateroom and what should she do, and counted the bags and
patted each one.  However, in a few minutes the bags were in and
the stewards out and Mother exclaiming over how nice her stateroom
was--not a bit stuffy and VERY comfortable.

Just then the stewardess came in.  She was a pretty, fresh-faced
woman to whom Mother immediately took a great fancy.  When George
left they were joking together and the stewardess telling Mother
she must be Irish or at least have kissed the Blarney Stone.

Beside this to take a train from Harrison to come to town on a
summer's afternoon might seem less trying.  Not to Mother.  Trains
were great implacable, roaring monsters.  They had a frightful
ascendancy over her.

She used to take one down each week from Harrison to see me.  She
took an afternoon train arriving at 125th Street at 3 and went back
on the 5.27.

She always came dressed carefully in travelling clothes with the
ancient black leather Gladstone bag clutched in her hand.  In it
she brought me eggs and butter--such rich golden butter--and
spinach.  We had good talks and laughs.  We got all smoothed out
and happy from seeing each other.  But then came the ordeal of
catching the 5.27.

I used to drive over to the station with her, and we always had
plenty of time for if we left my apartment at quarter to five we
got to the 125th Street station at five minutes past five at the
latest.  Nevertheless as we drew near, a sensation of urgency
seized her.  "Here's the station," she cried.  It was like being
possessed.  Her eyes changed; she no longer saw me.  She said,
"Good-bye, dear love," automatically; hurried out of the carriage,
gripped that much-enduring black bag tight, and ran up the stairs.
That long flight to the platform!  It used to shake her all up to
run, with fear clutching her: but this was a STATION.

She said to me afterwards when she was describing it all that she
used to feel only very callous people dared pretend to be calm in a
station, abnormal creatures, who were certain to come to bad ends.
"Lord help and save us," she said, "they probably missed their
trains and killed themselves."

As she got to the top of the platform a train appeared, instantly.
She tried to think of the fact that it was twenty minutes early,
and going in the wrong direction, but it made such a noise she
couldn't think.  She just felt that if it once got away from her it
was gone--it would never come back.

She called to the announcer:  "Here man!  Man!"  He wouldn't
listen.  Perhaps it would be safest to get aboard, to take no
chances.  There were the car-steps where all those people were.

So she and the black bag, which I really think shared her
excitement, pushed madly to the steps of a car and attempted to
climb up.  But because it was so crowded, she had time to ask the
brakeman, earnestly, if he were sure it was her train.  And it
gradually developed that this was NOT her train, but some huge
impostor, some really impossible train that would not do at all.
Several persons confirmed this.  Officials.  It was probably true.
"You are SURE, porter?  Well. . . .

"I am going to Harrison. . . .

"What!  I am on the WRONG PLATFORM!  My soul!"

She didn't quite cry, but the frightened little tears were right
there, only she had no time to do anything but run back down those
awful stairs.  Other people were using them.  She remembered that
afterwards.  But at the time she didn't see them.  Her eyes were
fixed, her legs blindly felt their way as though they were at a
fire--if they would never be good for another step, no matter, they
must simply race now.

Down those stairs and then up the other flight.  Oh they were so
ABOVE!  Trains coming and going.  They're CRUEL--when she was
hurrying so.  Oh please wait!

From then on she said she didn't know what she was doing.  She got
on the right platform, with about sixteen minutes to spare, but she
couldn't collect herself.  She was so shaken up.  Every cell in her
body and brain was focused on one pressing need--that of catching
that train--and convinced of the imminent danger of its getting
away.  In those sixteen minutes four or five trains came in, before
hers, and in spite of all that anyone could say to her she tried to
climb on each one.  The announcer himself took pity on her, after
her third excited attempt, and led her away, promising to point out
her train when it came.  But when the next wrong train appeared,
she began trembling again, and felt she couldn't stand there, so as
soon as his back was turned she made for it.  And again was thrust
back.  She felt so ashamed!  But not ashamed enough to stop trying.

The next though was hers.

Once on board, she soon relaxed, and recovered quite promptly.  The
blessed relief of having come safely through so many perils, and
the sense of having triumphed over a large, loud, deceiving old
train, were soothing enough to make up for her exertions.  She had
already turned her mind on the problem of telling Dennis, the
gardener, just how much spinach she wanted to bring down to me the
next week.  Her agony she forgot, just as when a hypnotised person
comes out of a trance in which he has suffered, he leaves all pain
behind in a moment.  It was sponged off the slate.


When old Margaret cooked for us, although there was not a great
variety, what she cooked was just right.  But Mother was not so
successful with her waitresses.  There is something about good
service, at table, that adds to the pleasure of eating.  Even the
best of food, with bad service, isn't fun at all.  That was only
too often what happened at our house.  Mother knew that Father
valued good service, but because he yelled at her so much to
economise, she did not know that he would probably have been
willing to pay for it.  Although she felt guilty when he criticised
the way she ran the house, she was sure she did the best she could
under the circumstances.

Most of the time she felt it was Father's fault that things didn't
run smoothly.  He made such a fuss, she said.  But the fact was
that she couldn't make a house run smoothly.  It was not that she
neglected it.  She worked very hard at it and got all tired out.
But what she loved to do was to make a house look pretty and
homelike.  She created a pleasant atmosphere by the way she
arranged flowers and furniture, and she was always busy moving
things around and planning new effects.  She also worked hard
planning the meals, or training green waitresses so that Father's
dinner would be properly served.  But training waitresses and
planning meals was not her forte.  So in a room with flowers and a
pleasant look to it, we'd have dreadful scenes with Father red-
faced and angry because his dinner never seemed just right.

One night we had a new waitress, of whom Mother had great hopes.
But while serving Father she held a dish so high that he could not
help himself.  When he roared at her to put it down lower she began
to tremble.  After Father got hold of the spoon he held it in mid-
air while he addressed himself to Mother.

"How many times," he said, "have I asked you not to engage a girl
who doesn't even know how to hold a dish properly?"

"Clare," said Mother, "hush!  Can't you see she is new and doing
her best?"

"What I want," said Father, "is service."

He then felt better and helped himself calmly from the offending
dish, immediately forgetting the waitress.  He tried the food,
found it good and started to enjoy it.  Meanwhile the trembling
girl walked toward Mother.  Halfway there she broke down and ran
out of the room sobbing.

Father turned in surprise.  "What now?" he said, as she disappeared
through the swinging door.

"Oh Clare," Mother wailed, "see what you've done."

The next day when a friend of hers came to call, Mother told her
about this scene, and bemoaned the departure of the waitress.  Her
friend was a large commanding woman, who ruled her husband
carefully but firmly.  She nodded her head several times but said
nothing until Mother sank back exhausted from her tale.  "What you
need," she told Mother impressively in her deep controlled voice,
"is a housekeeper."

Mother said that a housekeeper was out of the question.  She knew
Mr. Day would never consider such a thing.  Nevertheless her friend
described in detail the peace that reigned in the homes that had
housekeepers.  And what was more astonishing, she knew the exact
person to make Mother's home perfect.

By the time the afternoon was over, Mother could hardly wait for
Father to come home so she could tell him all about the treasure
she had engaged.

"Clare," she called, before he closed the front door, "come right
up here.  I want to talk to you."

Father was astonished.  This was the time when she was generally so
busy with the last-minute details about the house or dressing that
she was in no mood for talk.  He stuck his cane in the tall pinkish-
brown jar, carefully placed so that the large roses painted down
one side showed to good effect.  He then put his hat on the closet
shelf and his coat on its hanger.  After he had shut the door
carefully on them, he ran up the stairs, two at a time.

"What is it, Vinnie?  Is anything wrong?"

"Wrong, Clare?  Why should anything be wrong?"

"You said you wanted to talk to me."

"Of course, I want to talk to you.  Aren't you glad Mrs. Abbot is
coming to be our housekeeper and make everything pleasant for you?"

"Mrs. Abbot!  Who is Mrs. Abbot?  And what, may I ask, is she to
make pleasant for me?"

"Why, the HOUSE, Clare.  Don't shout so."

Father and Mother saw the house through different eyes.  They each
felt strongly that it was their own home, but the idea that it
might be a common one had never entered their minds.  Right now
Father began loudly:

"This is my home and I won't have--"

"Of course, it's your home, Clare, I don't understand what you are
talking about."

"I'm saying I wish my home run with some regard for my wishes."

"That's just what I was telling you, Clare," said Mother.  "I have
just taken a lot of trouble so that all your wishes can be taken
care of perfectly."

"Since when has it been my wish to have a stranger thrust into my

"A housekeeper isn't a stranger, Clare," said Mother.  And quickly
reminded him that if he did not hurry and change he would be late
for dinner.

After the first enthusiasm was over, Mother began to wonder how it
was going to feel to have her home reduced to perfect order by some
determined woman.  She looked forward to Mrs. Abbot's arrival so
uneasily that when she came, Mother was astonished to find her
gentle and rather vague.  Although there was nothing really wrong
with her clothing, somehow she gave an effect of things being just
askew.  Also, her pale eyes never seemed fixed in the direction in
which they were looking.  None of this bothered Mother.  She was so
relieved that she was not to be ordered about in her home like the
husband of her commanding friend.  But on the other hand, she knew
the situation was difficult and wondered if it might not really be
better if Mrs. Abbot looked more like a general.

Father's reaction from the first--when he spoke to her at all--was
to address her in a loud tone, as though she were across the
street.  If her replies were not satisfactory, as they generally
weren't, he then spoke about her, as though she were not present.
Mother could never quite make up her mind whether she wanted her to
have more spunk or not.  She felt that if Mrs. Abbot did talk back
to Father there was no telling what he might do to her.  Deep down
inside her, Mother almost believed that it might even endanger Mrs.
Abbot's life if she were to do anything so daring.  However, as she
didn't, Father declared again and again that she had no backbone;
and that she was a pudding-head.

Mother dreaded the evenings when Father decided to go into the
pantry to open a bottle of wine, because it seemed as though every
time he did so Mrs. Abbot was sitting there at her table waiting
for her meal to be brought to her.  Father never waited until he
got all the way back into the dining-room but, while the door was
still open, demanded of Mother the reason why that woman was
sitting around out there.

"For your comfort," Mother said.

"She's not doing anything for me," Father said, "she's not doing
anything at all."

Mother felt that somehow this was all very annoying of Mrs. Abbot.

To make matters worse, Mrs. Abbot always saw the gloomy side of
everything, which especially upset Mother when she was ill.  For
although naturally a buoyant person, she was highly susceptible,
and needed bright, cheery people and gay flowers around her.  Mrs.
Abbot was anything but cheering.

As Mother began to feel better, she would send for Mrs. Abbot to
see how the household affairs were going.  Mother did so one June
morning, when she had been ill with a cold, but was feeling
stronger.  Mrs. Abbot took quite a long time to come upstairs and
Mother began to wish she had never sent for her.  Just then Mrs.
Abbot sidled vaguely into the room, her eyes fixed on the far
corner.  She made a little rush at Mother's bed as though to stand
right by her head.

"Good heavens, Mrs. Abbot, don't stand where I can't see you.  Go
to the foot of the bed."

For a few moments they talked of household matters.  But Mrs. Abbot
kept stopping.  Her eyes wandered to Mother and rested intently on
her face.  From time to time she shook her head.  Once right in the
middle of a sentence she became silent, then leaned forward staring
at Mother.

Mother became alarmed.  "Mrs. Abbot," she said, "what is it?"

Mrs. Abbot looked at Mother and said in her simple way:  "I think
you look SICKER than yesterday."

Mother jumped up in the bed.  "Oh!  My Lord, Mrs. Abbot, you must
not talk that way."  Feeling that maybe something dreadful really
was the matter with her, Mother fell back on the pillows.

Mrs. Abbot continued to look at Mother without saying anything.

"What a way to tell anyone sick in bed that they look SICKER!"
Mother wailed.

Mrs. Abbot was frightened at Mother's vehemence, but she replied in
a faint but defiant voice, "Well, I DO think so."

Mother by this time was unable to lift her head.  She turned and
feebly closed her eyes.  It did seem as though she felt worse.

"Go," she said in a voice almost as weak as Mrs. Abbot's.  "Go back
down in the kitchen.  I am not well enough to talk any longer."

The main difficulty in dealing with Mrs. Abbot was that her mind
wasn't steady or fixed.  It had formed the habit of blowing around
like the wind wherever it happened to list.  She had no proper
control over it.  In fact, her mind controlled her.  One morning,
when Mother was saying urgently, "Now, Mrs. Abbot, you won't forget
about that soap, will you?" I saw a vague look float into Mrs.
Abbot's wandering eye, and her mind snatched her up, as it were,
and deposited her at a distance.  She stared at the fireplace
dreamily and said:  "This isn't the right beach for soap."

"What!" Mother demanded.

Mrs. Abbot came back with a start.

"What on earth are you talking about, Mrs. Abbot?"

Mrs. Abbot looked injured.  "I didn't forget about the soap, Mrs.
Day, but it wasn't there."

"It is too!" Mother shrieked.  "Park and Tilford's are NEVER out of
Pears' soap!  You haven't even got your hat on to go and get it
yet.  What's the matter with you, Mrs. Abbot?"

Mrs. Abbot sighed and looked forgivingly, though vaguely, at
Mother, and went off to put on her hat.

An odd thing about this incident was that she then went to Park and
Tilford's and came carefully back with the soap.  It was always
like that.  At one moment she'd seem perfectly hopeless and the
next she'd be as competent as anyone else.  I didn't believe she
was really quite right in the head, but Mother said she could be
quite right enough if she wanted to, and that the thing to do was
to be firm with her.  Somehow or other it worked.

Mother began to feel that she could relax, and enjoy her house.
She even made plans to do over the reception room.  She had never
been satisfied with the way it looked.  Now, as she stood at the
door, her hands parting the portieres, her head a little to one
side, she considered the changes.  Every time she did this, her
feeling toward Mrs. Abbot warmed and she wished that she felt a
little less impatient with the poor woman.

"Clare," said Mother one evening, "don't you think I was right to
get Mrs. Abbot?"

Father had just lifted his glass of cognac.  He set it down again.
Hard.  He also laid down his book.

"If you want to know what I think about that woman, Vinnie--" he

"Hush," Mother implored him.  "Hush, Clare, she might hear you."

"Don't care if she does," said Father.  "Might do her good.  Last
night I tried to tell her how I wanted my bacon, and do you know
what she did the whole time I was telling her?"

"I don't know what she did, Clare," Mother said indignantly, "but I
heard all the noise.  And so did my friend Miss Wilkinson.  I think
she was really quite frightened.  If Mrs. Abbot does not satisfy
you, it's your own fault for shouting so much."

Father struck his fist on the arm of his chair.

"When I can't talk in my own pantry--"

Just at this moment, Mrs. Abbot walked into the room.  When she saw
Father, her breath came in short gasps.

"Oh, Mrs. Day," she panted, "one of your friends called you up, er--
she wants you should phone her but the name has deserted me."

Mother looked at her speechless for a second, then before Father
could catch his breath, rushed at Mrs. Abbot, pushing her out of
the room, talking all the while.  "Now, Mrs. Abbot, that will do,
if you have forgotten who called me I don't see what good it does
to come rushing in at this time of night."

Mother had some friends, Mr. and Mrs. Robbins, in East Sixty-ninth
Street, and she knew another lady, Mrs. Wrenn, who lived on
Lexington Avenue.  Mrs. Abbot used to get them mixed.

Although Mother had hundreds of friends, she had a feeling that it
must have been one of those two that Mrs. Abbot meant.  She
disapproved so of Mrs. Abbot's mixing them up that she would not
mention their names however.

"Now Mrs. Abbot, you should not give me a long message to call
someone and never be able to tell me who it is that I am supposed
to call."

"Indeed, Mrs. Day, I do try, but somehow the name never seems to be
here when I want to tell you."

"Mrs. Abbot," said Mother severely, "everyone can remember names if
they just try.  If you can't remember them like any ordinary
person, why then, keep something in mind about the names that you
can remember them by."

For several days things really did seem to go better.  Until one
day Mrs. Abbot again had trouble with a message.

"What kind of name was it, Mrs. Abbot?  I've told you and told you
and told you that you simply must remember the name.  It wasn't
Mrs. Willets, was it?"

"No," Mrs. Abbot said faintly.  "No, Mrs. Day, it was one of them
birds."  Tears came to her eyes and ran down her small earnest
face.  "And if it was the Wrenns or the Robbins I kinnot recall."

"Now, Mrs. Abbot," Mother said, "you're just being silly about this
and you must stop it right now.  It's utterly unnecessary to think
of people's names in that way.  Why, the next thing, you'll be
getting all mixed up about Mrs. Crane, too."

Mrs. Abbot hadn't known till then that Mother's friends included
Cranes too.  She put her hand to her heart in alarm and backed out
of the room.

A year later, as it happened, a gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Edward
Sparrow, bought the house next door to ours, No. 41, and settled
down there to live.  Mrs. Abbot then completely gave up.  From that
time on, Mother said, she didn't even try to keep them straight.
When any one of those four names was mentioned, Mrs. Abbot's mind

One day she came stumbling and panting up the stairs so frightened
she scarcely could speak.  "Oh, Mrs. Day!" she gulped out.  "Your
friends' house is afire!"

"Whose house?" Mother demanded, getting up in a hurry.

Mrs. Abbot's eyes flickered and that troubled evasive look appeared
in them.  "Why, you know who I mean, Mrs. Day.  It's them
Pidgeons!" she wailed.

Mother was beside herself.  She hurriedly put on her hat and coat
and went out on the steps.  Mrs. Abbot ran out beside her and
pointed triumphantly at a fireman coming out of the Sparrows'!

When, not long after this, Mrs. Abbot was called home to look after
some sick relative, Mother said it was a mercy, for if she had
stayed much longer Mother felt she would never be able again to see
her friends as normal human beings.

Not long after Mrs. Abbot left, Mother decided that a well-trained
butler and his wife wouldn't need looking after.

It was not easy to find a couple who could satisfy the family
requirements.  It might have been easier if Mother had not at last
seen a use for the empty butler's room off the pantry.  As there
was space in it for only one narrow cot, this meant that the wife
slept alone in her room on the fourth floor.  But at length a
French couple named Dominique and Henriette arrived at the house.
They were a little old, but Henriette's cooking and Dominique's
serving were perfect.  It looked like a happy arrangement for
nearly a month.  By that time, however, Dominique had begun to be
slack, the quick, careful manner he had had when he came was now
gone and he was becoming more languid and weary every day.

Mother said he must be getting old.  She had a little talk with
Henriette about him.  Henriette cried.  She said, yes, she herself
had seen this change and it frightened her.  It was true that he
was no longer young, but never had she seen Dominique look this way

He certainly looked bad.  His face had become grey and he looked
like a sick man.  Finally he came to Mother and said that they must
leave.  Very politely, on leaving he explained that his room was of
such a heat at night that his suffering had become unbearable.

Mother took this as a kind of impudence.  Nevertheless, she went
into Dominique's room, off the pantry.  It was small and narrow,
with a window high up.  In the French fashion Dominique had kept
this window tightly closed.  There was also a large radiator.  This
feature Dominique had regarded as something mysterious and not to
be touched.  As we bought the city steam, it had poured liberally
and steadily into his radiator night and day.  In consequence of
his French dislike of draughts and night air and his French
distrust of mechanical arrangements, Dominique had spent his nights
bathed in perspiration and in an atmosphere of a stokehold.

Mother tried to explain to Dominique what had happened, but
Dominique felt that he had suffered a great deal and was completely
convinced that his health had been permanently injured and that he
and Henriette must go.

This discouraged Mother and Father with couples and with the French
nation.  They settled back into their old routine of cook and

At the end, even this became too much to contend with and the last
waitress, Katherine, finally took charge of Mother and Father and
the whole house.  The dreams of perfect service were gone, for
Katherine was independent and from New England.  She spoke her mind
on all occasions, particularly if she disapproved.

She browbeat both Mother and Father but served them, in her own
way, devotedly.  The three of them quarrelled, but underneath
Mother and Father knew they had something on which they could


Mother sometimes talked to Father about the advantages of living in
an apartment.  Father said it was all nonsense.  A respectable man
owned his own home and didn't go living around in a "hole in the

However, as time went on, more and more people they knew lived that
way.  Many of their conservative friends bought apartments, which
Mother felt made things altogether different.  She said so to
Father one day, adding, "Bessie and Eustis have bought one."

"What the devil did they do that for?" Father asked.

"Why, to live in, Clare," said Mother.  "And you'd be a lot more
comfortable in an apartment, too," she added.

"I have told you over and over again that I don't want an
apartment," said Father.

"But if you buy it, then it is your home just like a house," Mother

"It's a hole in the air just the same," Father replied, then after
a moment added disgustedly, "a damned hole in the air."

Father died in his own house, but a few months afterwards Mother
got rid of it, a largish house at 43 East Sixty-eighth Street, and
bought herself an apartment at 1170 Fifth Avenue.  It was just what
she wanted.  It was on the fifteenth floor; looking south and west,
it was flooded with sunshine, and had a magnificent view all over
Central Park and the Reservoir.

All the same it was hard to leave 43.  She had lived there a long
time, and memories were strong.  Also, as she was always unable to
throw things away, when it came time to clear the house, every nook
and corner was filled with tightly packed objects.  All of these
still clamoured to be used.  However, Mother and Katherine worked
like beavers tying up packages to go not only to the new apartment,
but to friends and charities, until the chauffeur who had the job
of delivering all these bundles gave notice.  He said that there
was too much of it, and he could not stand it.  Mother said that if
he were a man he ought to be able to stand at least as much as she
could, and that if he hurried up and carried a few more things at a
time it would not take him so long.  A few days later he insisted
on leaving just the same.

Mother knew she would feel sad if she saw the alterations being
made on her home, so she announced that she would not even drive
through Sixty-eighth Street after she had made one more trip for
some extra precious electric light fixtures, a few curtain rods and
an enormous mirror, which she valued highly but had been unable to
find a place for in the apartment.  It had taken her some time to
find a home for this mirror; but at last she discovered that The
Girls' Club of the Church of the Peace Everlasting would be pleased
to instal it in the Club Room.  Just as soon as she heard this
Mother bustled around triumphantly to 43.

Intent on her errand, she did not at first notice that her car
could not draw up at its accustomed place because a large and
disreputable-looking truck stood there, its sides already bulging
with rubble, doors and pieces of wood.  Inside, men with axes
chopped at the carving and panelling in the dining-room, and at the
very mirror that she had intended to bestow on the Girls' Club.
Dust, plaster and noise were everywhere, and as for the fixtures
and curtain rods they had long since disappeared.  For a moment
Mother was stunned.  It is one thing to leave your house and know
that someone is planning to remodel it; but what she saw was quite
another matter.

"Oh!  Oh!" she cried.

Trembling from the shock, but already indignant, she got out of the
car and darted right at the very first man she saw and asked him
what he meant by breaking things up.  He, of course, was just a
workman and knew nothing about it.  Mother held him to account just
the same, also the broker, the contractor, and the new owner.  She
felt so bad, and said so with such conviction, that they finally
began to realize that something must be done.  For several days
they argued with her that they started work on the day scheduled--
to which Mother replied that they had never told her the day and it
had been put right in the papers when they sold the house that she
was to take out of it anything she wanted--instead they had chopped
up everything.  Finally the contractor himself took her to a place
where mirrors, fireplaces, doors and other objects salvaged from
wrecked homes lay stacked awaiting chance purchasers.  He invited
her to choose anything resembling hers.  She chose the best mirror
she could find for the Girls' Club, without feeling in the least
compensated for the destruction of her own.  She had seen with her
own eyes those shattered fragments of glass.

Before she moved in, in fact the very day that she had decided she
wanted the apartment, Mother had started right in to plan how she
was going to make it comfortable and homelike.  It was a domain of
her very own where, out of a square blank space, she would create
just the atmosphere she wanted.  Her mind raced on through the
process of settling, until she could see herself leading her
visitors through her new home on a tour of inspection before even
the paint had gone on the walls.

Her home had always been of such absorbing interest to Mother that
she never could resist showing it.  Long after the novelty of 43
had worn off and after she had lived there some time she still
showed it to people.  This habit distressed one of my brothers.  He
came to me much upset one evening when Mother was giving a dinner
to some foreign friends of his.  "The question is," he said, "how
to keep Mother from showing them the house.  One place we went the
other night they showed their house; and some country friends
showed both their house and their garage!  They think it's so

"Tell their harrowing story at table," I suggested.

He felt he couldn't do that.  Mother mightn't hear it, anyway,
giving orders to the servants.

"Then for heaven's sake, LET her show the house," I said.  "It will
give them something to talk about when they go back to Europe.
It'll at least wake them up."

He couldn't take that view of it.

Later in the evening I heard Mother showing everyone the house, in
relays.  In her excitement she even showed ME to two of them, Mr.
Hunt and Mr. Clyde.  Hunt was in a cloudy condition but kept
clinging to a phrase he had found helpful--viz.:  "No, really I
should have thought it more than twenty-five feet wide."

"It's only twenty-five," Mother assured him.  And Hunt turned
confidentially to me, saying with a fixed smile that really he
should have thought it considerably more than that.  The-er-halls,
you know.  He waved his hand.  "It's only twenty-five," Mother
repeated, and carried him off to the third-floor bathrooms.

"Did you show the rest of the people the house?" I asked Mother the
next morning.

"Yes," she said.  "You know that horrid old man they dined with
last night had shown them his, and I thought they might like to see
what a really nice house was like."

The new apartment had a special aspect; it was a kind of toy place
that she had ingeniously contrived to make into a home.  So it was
no wonder that a friend, calling there for the first time, had no
sooner got into the living-room and started to make herself
comfortable than she found herself hustled right back again to the
elevator landing, so that Mother could show everything straight
from the beginning.

This landing had not seemed very big, but it had managed to absorb
several large and elaborate pieces of Empire furniture decorously
set off by two oversized steel engravings: one of "Prince Albert's
Harriers," the other of a "Meeting of her Majesty's Stag Hounds on
Ascot Heath."

Inside, all was rather dark and quiet, except for the loud tick-
tick of the grandfather's clock.  The hall and the living-room were
papered in soft dark green.  However, the dining-room, opening off
one end of the hall, had a strong rich, crimson-flowered, damask-
like paper.  It somehow was appropriate with the black heavily
carved Jacobean furniture and dark woodwork to match.  Taking up
one whole side of the room were two glass-front china closets,
rather like bookcases, where Mother kept her best gold china and
Venetian glass.  The sideboard, a massive structure, and the
serving table were covered with silver pitchers, dishes, plates and
platters, a coffee urn and a tea set.

One special feature of this room was a great mirror taken from 43
before the vandals had started work on the house, and set into the
wall opposite the door.  Not only was the long hall with its sofas
and chairs and tables reflected in it, but also the living-room and
a glimpse of the Park outside.  Many guests narrowly escaped real
injury when they bumped into the glass, thinking the apartment
really did extend beyond.  Mother was divided in her emotions
between impatience at their stupidity and gratification at the
success of the illusion.

Mother had always had a blue room, and the one she had in the new
apartment was far from being an exception.  She said that she had
never had a blue room with walls as blue as she wanted before; this
blue was bright and strong and Mother liked it very much.  The beds
were brass and the furniture white.  All the upholstery was of the
same blue brocade as the curtains, a little greyish in colour and
woven with a minute leaf-pattern.  Also the coverlet and bolster.
The bolsters were hard round cylinders which lay precise and
unyielding at the head of each bed, firmly repelling any person who
was so badly brought up as to try to rest on a bed when it was made
up.  On the floor was a rather lightish blue carpet.  On various
pieces of furniture were blue candlesticks, dishes, boxes; and a
blue carafe beside the bed was covered with bluebirds flying around

As Mother shepherded her visitor out of the room she always
carefully lowered the window shades so that the sun should not fade
the walls.

There was a middle room, but for some reason it had no hold on
Mother's affections and she hardly showed it, but passed straight
on to her bedroom.

She had always loved her bedroom at 43, and her main problem was to
engineer into this smaller space all her beloved objects.  Her
brass bed with its canopy of ruffled lavender curtains went along
one wall, facing so that Mother could look out on the Reservoir
while she ate her breakfast.  Although the beds in the other rooms
had round stiff bolsters she had always liked her stiffly starched
white pillow-shams, against which she piled her embroidered and
lace baby-pillows.  The bureau was rather large with its swell
front; but it needed to be, to hold her silver toilette set which
had incorporated into itself a lot of extra objects: silver boxes,
some cologne bottles of solid silver, some of cut glass with silver
tops, a couple of extra powder dishes, and an extra vase which had
just arrived the Christmas before.

On a little round table at her bedside was her telephone, a book of
verse, a prayer book and her carafe.  The couch was, like that in
the guest room, one of those heavily springed affairs with a
rolling elevation at one end not high enough to permit sitting up
like a chaise longue but which nevertheless prevented anyone from
really going to sleep on it.  Ladies lay down on these couches,
covered with afghans, for a little rest after lunch, half-lying,

When she came to the living-room Mother explained all the
difficulties they had had getting the soft pine wood in the
panelling and deep window embrasures stained the precise light red
mahogany colour dear to her heart; as she told this she lovingly
plumped the red velvet cushions that were in the corners of the
large green overstuffed chairs and sofa.  These had been in the
library at 43 when Father bought the house from Mr. Brooks.
Between the windows and out into the room stood Father's George
Washington desk.  The great Turkey red, blue and green rug covered
the floor.

The room was full of familiar objects which Mother caressed lightly
as she showed them.  On the desk was a tall, embossed brass lamp
which had been converted from oil to electricity.  It had a red-
flowered shade which was trimmed top and bottom with a deep band of
chenille.  On either end of the mantel were Grandma Stockwell's
gold and white French vases, filled with straw-flowers.  A black
bust of Grandpa Day stood on the grand piano, between photographs
of two of his grandsons.  Near them drooped the lamp made of
Tiffany glass and shaped like a lily.

Off to one side of the room was a book-nook.  In one corner of it
hung a small cage-like lantern.  When this was lit the bulb showed
up as a little monkey.  Mother adored this funny object and kept it
lit only a second for fear that one day the bulb would burn out.

One of her favourite pictures was of a choir boy singing with all
his might and main.  She always said that it reminded her of one of
her own dear boys at St. Paul's.  The other was of some chickens
coming out of the shell and pecking at some strawberries.  These
were both oils in deep gilt frames.

On each window ledge was a bulbous pink jardinire filled with ivy.
The electric light fixtures were of solid brass and branched
majestically out as though to take their place in this crowded
room, which had somehow achieved what Mother had wanted--solid
comfort and hominess.

In all her homes Mother had had a reception room.  It stood for
something in her life and the lives of her friends.  It was a
setting with an atmosphere of formality which helped them through
awkward or disagreeable situations, which had to be dealt with but
which were just as well not brought into the centre of the house.
It was just as much help if the visit were pleasant, although
purely formal, for the stiff chairs and fragile aspect of the
objects around permitted nothing else.  Its traditional furnishings
were French.  Mother's had always been done in pink and gold.

Mother felt so strongly that she did not have a proper home without
a room of this sort that although the remaining room in the
apartment could only be reached by going through her bath, or the
living-room--it just had to be a pink and gold room.  When it was
finished all Mother had to do was to look around at the gilt
furniture and the pink walls, and all her associations with that
sort of room came back and she was able to receive and dismiss in
this room someone whom she did not wish to join the intimate circle
in the next, as ably as she did at 43 when the library was on the
second floor and the reception room right at the front door.
Without really taking her mind off her visitor, she could hear the
pink porcelain clock ticking and she knew that it stood underneath
the great Venetian glass mirror on the glass cabinet filled with
its assortment of bric-a-brac and the porcelain figurines that made
up the monkey orchestra.  She could see from her armchair the two
column-like porcelain lamps; one pink with a landscape painted on
it, the other of blue Delft.  Both of them had as shades round
white porcelain globes.  Grandma Day's vase with the doves on it
was near the alabaster vase with the doves feeding out of it, a
memento from Venice.

There was one great difference in this room from its predecessors.
It was used.  Mother loved to sit in one of the pink satin and gilt
chairs by the window.  With her feet on the little mahogany
footstool and a book of poems resting in her lap, and her light
lavender wool scarf thrown over her shoulders when it was a bit
cool, she would watch the changing colours over the Reservoir and
the lights begin to come on in Fifty-ninth Street and Central Park

However, Mother was usually active, and after she felt settled she
sent out word she was again at home on Thursdays--wondering if
people would come so far uptown.  She need not have given it a
thought for every Thursday saw a group sitting around the dining-
room table, which had been set with a lace cloth, and at one end
the tea-service.  Mother poured, as she laughed, and got indignant,
and told stories on herself and others with equal prodigality.

Katherine might be grumpy on other days, and set Mother's tray down
the wrong side, as a sign of displeasure, or worse still a signal
that she was about to retire into what Mother called "her spells"
when she didn't speak.  But on Thursdays she was always jocular and
interested as she slipped in and out with hot water or more of her
famous doughnut balls.

The dark side of life in the apartment consisted mainly in a kind
of warfare with the people who lived on the roof.  They seemed to
Mother, who could hear them sing and jump, rather noisy.  But their
great sin came from their efforts to beautify their roof, where
they made a garden which was larger than the drainage system could
stand.  The pink room and the red wallpaper in the dining-room

There was a great deal of talk but at last all was repaired.  And
just in time.  For Mother was, for the first time in years, giving
several big receptions.  She had a new and rather young daughter-in-
law, that winter, a challenge which Mother met with energy and
interest; and solved by treating her as a new granddaughter.

All day long, on the great days, boxes of flowers came every few
moments until the apartment was crowded with them.  Mother got more
and more excited by each arrival.  Imported maids and Katherine got
under one another's feet as they washed and stacked silver.

A little after four commenced the stream of ladies in black and
purple satin, jangly with jet and jewelled lorgnettes.  Around
their necks were ermine tippets and their hats were of shining
velvet and they nearly all wore ostrich plumes.  Their husbands,
when there were any, wore morning coats and striped trousers.  An
occasional daughter slipped unsubstantially in and then out again.

Mother sat enthroned in the living-room wearing a new royal purple
velvet gown and carrying orchids in her left hand.  By her side
stood the new daughter-in-law in pale beige lace carrying an old-
fashioned bouquet of tea roses and forget-me-nots.  There was
punch, tea, coffee and chocolate, layer cakes, doughnuts,
sandwiches, hot biscuits and brownies--in the dining-room.

Mother was in high feather, her voice carrying above the chatter as
she sat there completely in her element greeting one old friend
after another, until by seven-thirty at each reception, triumphant
if exhausted, she had greeted, steered around, introduced, and
poked up more than a hundred persons.

It was the beginning of a gay and busy winter for Mother until one
Thursday, late in January 1929.  On that day there were fourteen
people around the dining-room table, and Mother was gayer than
ever, but afterwards felt a queer pain on her left side.  On Friday
she lay quiet and unlike herself in her room attended by Katherine.
By Saturday, however, she was joking and nudging her doctor while
telling him some mischievous story.  Ten minutes later, without
ever having known she had the dreaded angina pectoris, she died.

The following Monday, dressed again in her new velvet gown and
surrounded by orchids, she seemed to receive for the last time the
friends who crowded in to bid her farewell.


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