Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

must go farther and upset the live worst mood well known of old. Meanfurniture.'

while, Anthony's graceful young wife In justice to the ultra-executive sat attentively near us on the window mother-in-law, we remember that later seat, preserving that admirable silence in the story Catherine saves the life of So becoming to daughters-in-law. Margaret's baby by her prompt and Tyler sat beside her holding the hamdetermined advice. This is what we are mer and nails, and Alexander stood cut out for, we mothers of grown sons. helpfully near, ready with markingWe are competent for the emergency pens and ink. They wisely gave Anmeasure, for the times of whirlwinds thony and me a clear field. At last my and conflagration and the noise of exasperation with my unruly son arose waterspouts. We struggle to keep our to a pitch. ‘Anthony Winship!' I exexecutive ability in check until it is claimed with fervor. 'If you children needed, but a force so tremendous is were all at home all the time, I'd just likely to get in a little practice every have to give up the struggle.' day, just as a professional fireman Anthony stepped to the doorway and slides down the brass pole in the engine shouted to his sisters, 'Oh girls, Mother house even when there is no fire. says that if we were all at home all

Shortly after my youngest son An- the time she 'd give up the struggle.' thony was married, I invited all the With cheers and war whoops and branches of the family to come home rounds of applause, the rest of the for a reunion. The gay house party was family, including my husband, came at its height, when it occurred to An- trooping up the stairs. Seldom has an thony that this would be a capital time innocent remark created such a stir. for me to hunt up all his old textbooks 'I can imagine a good many things,' and notes and reference works, so that mused Anthony when the appreciation he might send them by express to his had quieted down a little, but I can't new home. Spurred on by his tactful imagine Mother giving up the struggle.' reminders, I rummaged through the bookshelves and storage-nooks all over

IV the house and attic in the intervals of festivity that week. Finally Anthony No, I shall not give it up. The reand I convened in his room to pack the sults are well worth my efforts, and I collection in a large wooden box that I hope that I am becoming adjusted to had found. As usual, Anthony and I the new focus of my life. I am trying held definite and divergent views about to fit my mental vision with a pair of how the packing should be done. My spiritual bifocals, as it were, that I may views were obviously superior, based, observe all things in their right proas I reminded him, on extensive ex- portions, both great and small. I have perience largely antedating his birth. received noble compliments from my Besides, I had hunted up the books. daughters on my marvelous self-conBesides, it was my box. On equal terms trol: and Alexander once told Louisa the battle raged. Anthony forgot that that there ought to be a special way of I was his reverend dear mother. I for- spelling the term 'mother-in-law'when got that Anthony was a householder, a applied to pleasant ones like me — husband, and a member of the Ameri- perhaps with a capital 'L' on the ‘law,' can Society of Mechanical Engineers. or better still, he said, with the Greek To me, he was acting very much like lambda. He said I was a lambda. One my impertuous youngest son in his cherishes such compliments as these, VOL. 134 NO. 3

and I am growing more accustomed to irons in the fire. But activity, however my bifocals every day.

useful and absorbing, has no bearing But sometimes, in the middle of a whatever upon the primitive preocwinter night, I half wake up and cupations of the soul. dreamily realize that the wind is whis. That is why our problem is never tling around the house, and that the solved. That is why our situation is not prophesied cold snap is coming on. a comedy, and not a tragedy, but a Still dazed with sleep, my conscience paradox. That is why the most discreet tells me that I must get up and put mother-in-law is never quite sure extra blankets over the sleeping chil- whether her children-in-law consider

out of my drowsiness and start to rise or not. I should really like to know - and then I remember that all the what they think of me, those highchildren's rooms are empty now. I need spirited lovers of my children, after the not stir. In a way it is a relief not to ups and downs of these important openhave to get up. I settle down and trying years. Is Alexander as happy as he to go to sleep again, and then I start to seems when he stops over at our house think. Perhaps Louisa is prowling on one of his New England trips, and I around on her sleeping-porch in north- let him have his Sunday morning ern Illinois, seeing that her own chil- breakfast very late at the little table dren are snug and warm. I wonder if by the fireplace, as I used to on his Alexander remembered to get the visits to us the year when he and Louisa weatherstrips for the windows of the were engaged? Are Rosamond and dressing-room on the side of the house Priscilla as contented as they seem nearest the lake. I wonder if Tyler when they visit at our seashore cottage, decided to install that new furnace in and we sew and talk together while his house at this crazy time of year. I their little children build houses near wonder if Rosamond ever found the fur us in the sand? Of course one can never that she lost. I wonder if Anthony was be absolutely sure. But certainly I

if he took out fire insurance on his new to winning their confidence and esteem. furniture right away. I wonder if Persons so important to my sons and Priscilla decided to let little Tyler en- daughters are important also to me. roll for the scouts' winter camp.

And so, I think, on the evening of At this point my less personal self asks Mother-in-Law's Day, I shall be inscripturally, ‘What is that to thee?' clined to count over my beautiful snap

Oh well, of course it is everything to dragons rather quizzically, as a young me. One may as well face the facts. girl counts the petals of a daisy: Common sense teaches me to fill my “They love me — they love me not — days with new projects, letting my they love me.' But I have seen too children live their own lives. This is many daisy petals counted in my day exactly what I do. I have built up an to depend very much on signs, except entirely new scheme of existence, filled on those unmistakable human signs with activities quite aside from my of affection and congeniality and underinterest in my children. I am not a standing which lead me to believe that Alickering old lady living in the past. I the true answer (in spite of the motheram a busy busy person hurrying to and in-law tradition, and in spite of what a fro in the earth and going up and down snapdragon might accidentally say) is upon it, and I have any number of probably: 'They love me.'

They

entirely what I dot own lives ting. my

TWO IVORY CUPIDS

BY WILLIAM SIDNEY ROSSITER

From an extremely comfortable chair committee as a good man, and Connors on the widest verandah of a Bretton needed only to suggest. He did n't Woods hotel, Mr. Edward Withers explain that the young man was a relaPinkham gazed thoughtfully at Mount tion of Mrs. Connors. It's queer how Washington — and wondered.

one's wife's relatives always hold Mr. Pinkham was perhaps thirty- orchestra tickets for the best jobs we five years old, of medium height, well can locate, while our own relatives dressed, well enough set up to drive must scramble for admission checks. about two hundred, and almost any. After all, Pinkham was not a bad where would have passed as rather sort. He was a graduate of Techattractive. The queer thing about him nology; he had brains (which is Big was the effect that he produced on peo- and Little Casino); he was earnest and ple who came in contact with him. energetic — but there was that conSomehow they could n't help laughing. founded weakness for making every, Except for the fact that, conversation- body laugh. People laugh so easily in ally, Mr. Pinkham wore tan shoes with these flippant times. evening dress, his personality hardly Just what were the duties of a new seemed to invite the effect he produced. Assistant Secretary? Mr. Pinkham Nevertheless, the more serious he tried had reported on arrival to Professor to be, the funnier he became. Being Butterfield, Secretary of the A.A.A.I.,

matter, but Mr. Pinkham either had meetings. Professor Butterfield was grown so familiar with the usual re- head over ears in details of accommoaction that he was reconciled to it, or dations. else he had begun to think that laugh- “Mr. Pinkham, ah yes, glad to see ing when one person meets another you. I can't stop now to go over matperson was the human way — just as ters. Row on with the management tail-wagging is the dog way.

about quarters for four Round Tables Why he was Assistant-Secretary of on Wednesday — maybe you can help the American Association for the Ad- later.' Professor Butterfield laughed vancement of Invention, which was and turned back to the problem of more about to meet at Bretton Woods that members who had engaged 'rooms week in early July, none of the ordinary with bath' than there were bathrooms run-of-the-mine members knew. The within many mountainous miles. insiders could have explained that Mr. Naturally, Mr. Pinkham would have Jeffrey Connors, of Connors, Cowdrey, breezed around, insisted on helping, and Calkins, efficiency engineers, had and finally muddled into his job, but suggested Pinkham to the nominating somehow - it was quite unusual —

the laugh deterred him, and the Each A.A.A.I. member hada programme. Assistant Secretary retired to the Each was trying to reconcile the Round verandah.

Table at 10:00 A. M. with the business Curious, is it not, how the devotees meeting of the Association at 9:45, and of science, having formed themselves to figure out how he could take the into learned societies, while ever pre- cog to the top of Mount Washington — pared to undergo extremest hardship and not be missed. in order to acquire more knowledge, And the meetings buzzed, the veransomehow invariably settle down like a dahs buzzed, and the dining-rooms, swarm of locusts at the most favored invaded three times a day by a swarm resorts in summer, or appropriate the of human locusts, buzzed more than most extravagant and gilded hotel in a all the other buzzings. And so Assovery large city in the winter. Many ciation Week wore on, and Mr. Pinkof the members never have been so far ham began to glow with various light from home before. This is pursuit of duties. science. It is a necessary expense. In particular, he ran errands and

There was nothing novel about the was actually gaining the first faint Bretton Woods meeting of the Amer. flushes of an Assistant Secretary's ican Association for the Advancement importance. of Invention. A meeting of one learned Saturday. Last meeting of the society is as much like the meeting of Thirty-second Annual Convention of another learned society as are two the A.A.A.I. Wonderful success. Unshredded wheat biscuits. Professor usual papers. Fine food. Most informIgnatius W. Montague of Ann Arbor ing discussions. Beautiful scenery. was President that year, and much Major Whitehouse of Jersey City was expected of his presidential ad hunted up Secretary Butterfield. The dress — ‘Limitations of the Inventive Major was tall, elderly, dignified. He Faculty: a Postulate.' Of course these kept his face in the last century, as it things could not be discussed effec- were, by wearing a beard, a full and tively in July in a city. It was a trial to expansive outfit of whiskers. be obliged to go to the White Moun- ‘Professor, are you going directly tains, but the cool air would conduce back to New York?' he asked delib

.

ing discussion Fine food. Muccess. Un

So most of the big hotel was chartered, 'I am, to-morrow.' and on a Tuesday in early July the 'I've decided to go to Quebec and inventors, and the university people down the Saguenay with Reed and who lectured on the history and influ- McSimmons. I have an umbrella here ence of inventions, and the interested of great value to me. I simply cannot people who manufactured inventions risk taking it on a tourist jaunt. It is and charged the public four times an old umbrella. I inherited it thirty their cost, began to flock in to Bretton years ago from my great uncle. Rather Woods.

heavy frame, but stout, sir, stout, and Soon they were wandering around the handle is of finest ivory, real, handas thick as ants, decorated with badges carved to represent a bunch of grapes reading:

and two cupids rampant. Would you I AM ANSON MAGOON

be willing to take that umbrella back OF OSHKOSH

to New York for me?' WISCONSIN

Major Whitehouse looked sharply WHO ARE YOU?

at the Secretary of the A.A.A.I. as

though doubtful whether he could put enormous umbrella spread over the over such a request.

President.' Professor Butterfield hesitated. 'I'm Mr. Pinkham essayed a faint smile. not sure,' he began. Then a relieved The humor in this episode was not expression appeared. 'Pinkham!' he evident to the principal. He explained called.

some of the responsibilities of his posiMr. Pinkham hurried to his chief. tion and the ownership and destination

‘Major Whitehouse, this is Mr. of the umbrella. E. W. Pinkham, our efficient Assistant- ‘Nonsense,' said Joe Kittredge. Secretary, a young man of unusual ‘Mother and Madge and I are going to promise in our Association. He is Montreal. So are you — on number returning to New York to-night. Mr. two hat-box. It 'll be a jolly party. Pinkham will gladly take your um- Come on.' brella back with him and leave it 'I can't,' said Mr. Pinkham, looking where you direct.'

at the cupids rampant. Mr. Pinkham did not take it over “Nonsense again,' said Joe Kittredge 'gladly,' but what are an Assistant more emphatically. 'My uncle, Walter Secretary's duties anyhow, and who Randall, is up here somewhere, attendshould know but the Secretary?

ing the convention. He lives in Orange So it came about that fifteen minutes and will be going right back. I 'll hunt later Mr. Pinkham was walking through him up. Let me register first.' the great office of the hotel on a warm, Mr. Pinkham's face brightened. still, sunny July afternoon carrying a This job had n't been all that a position black umbrella of unusual size, deco- of honor promised to be, and the umrated with a conspicuous ivory handle, brella business was an imposition. If the same representing a bunch of Mr. Randall would take the blamed grapes and two cupids rampant. relic home, here was a real chance.

And it also came about that advanc- Five minutes later Joe came toward ing toward him was Mrs. Algernon him beaming. 'I found Uncle Walt. Kittredge and Joe Kittredge and He's a good sport. Says bring on your Madge Kittredge, from Philadelphia, umbrella. Says he's met Whitehouse, en route to Montreal and then the but he wants to know if you have his Adirondacks.

gums also. Umbrella is 0.K. but no All the Kittredges stopped short and gums. Gimme those immoral grapes laughed, while the bell boys continued of ivory. to advance with the hat boxes and the And so it came about that the folgrips.

lowing morning a carefree party startWhere are you bound for, Pink, ed for Montreal and Uncle Walt Ranwith that family tent? Think it looks dall personally conducted to New York like rain?' The feminine Kittredges the Whitehouse family umbrella, huge were convulsed.

of frame, of black silk, with an ivory 'The American Association for the handle carved to represent a bunch of Advancement of Invention is holding grapes and two cupids rampant. At its annual meeting here. You see, I 'm least the carefree Edward Withers the Assistant Secretary,' Mr. Pinkham Pinkham, en route for Montreal with said with unwonted dignity.

Mrs. Kittredge, Joe Kittredge, and 'I see,' said Joe Kittredge sympa- Madge Kittredge, supposed that that thetically, ‘sort of Chinese-like, I sup- was so and forgot all about the Whitepose, and it's your job to carry that house family umbrella.

« ElőzőTovább »