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Chapter 5


Fountain: "It isn't a thing you could have wished to phrase that way, exactly."

Mrs. Fountain: "And you made me do it. Never thanking them, or anything, and standing there like I don't know what, and leaving the talk all to me. And now, making me lose my temper again, when I wanted to be so nice to you. Well, it is no use trying, and from this on I won't. Clarence!" She has opened the parcel addressed to herself and now stands transfixed with joy and wonder. "See what the girls have given me! The very necklace I've been longing for at Planets', and denying myself for the last fortnight! Well, never will I say your sisters are mean again."

Fountain: "You ought to have said that to them."

Mrs. Fountain: "It quite reconciles one to Christmas. What? Oh, that was rather nasty. You know I didn't mean it. I was so excited I didn't know what I was saying. I'm sure nobody ever got on better with sisters-in-law, and that shows my tact; if I do make a slip, now and then, I can always get out of it. They will understand. Do you think it was very nice of them to flaunt their new motor in my face? But of course anything your family does is perfect, and always was, though I must say this necklace is sweet of them. I wonder they had the taste." A tap on the door is heard. "Come in, Maggie!" Sotto voce. "Take it off." She snatches his bath-robe and tosses it behind the door.

William Dean Howells

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