She said the Home Town was Impossible. It certainly did seem Contrary to Reason.
Any Woman with a salaried Husband could bust into Society if she sang in a Choir or owned an Ice-cream Freezer.
Claudine was for migrating to some high-toned Community beyond the Rising Sun, where she could sit in Marble Halls and compare Jewelry with proud Duennas of her own Station.
Seeing Claudine at the corner of 8th and Central, waiting for the Open Car, one would not have suspected that she harbored Intentions on the Court Circles of Europe.
One would merely have guessed that she was on her way to the Drug Store to purchase much Camphor.
But she had taken a peek at the Palm Rooms and the powdered Lackeys and the Tea Riot at the Plaza, and she was panting inwardly.
She wanted to hang a silver Bell around her neck and go galloping with the white-faced Thoroughbreds.
It was no good trying to work up Speed on a half-mile track in the Prairie Loam.
Once in a while Claudine made a bold Sashay to start something devilish, but the Fillies trained on the Farm did not seem gaited for the Grand Circuit.
As for the Servant Problem, it was something ferocious. City Help could not be lured to the Tall Grass, and all the Locals had been schooled at the Railway Eating-House.
Elam and Claudine had a Cook named Gusta, born somewhere near the Arctic Circle in Europe.
Her fried Chicken drowned in thick Gravy came under the head of Regular Food.
She could turn out Waffles as long as there was a Customer in sight. The Biscuit on which she specialized were light as Down.
The Things she fixed to Eat were Fine and Dandy but she never had heard of a Cuisine.
When you took her away from regular Chow and made her tackle something Casserole or En Tasse, she blew.
Also there was a Maid who should have belonged to the Stevedores’ Union.
She could pack Victuals in from the Buttery and slam them down on the Table, a la Commercial Hotel, but when it came to building up an intricate Design with an ingrowing Napkin, three spoons, four Knives, five forks, and all the long-stemmed Glasses, to say nothing of an artful pyramiding of Cut Flowers around the Candelabra, then she was simply a female Blacksmith.
Claudine would throw a Dinner once in a while, just to subdue the Wife and Daughter of the National Bank, but the Crew would nearly always crab the Entertainment.
With the Support accorded by the solid ivory Staff, she had a fat Chance to give a correct Imitation of Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish.
All during the nine Courses she had to yelp more Orders than the Foreman of a Street Gang. A Megaphone would have helped some.
The Hostess who wishes to look and carry on like a Duchess, certainly finds it vexing when pop-eyed Lizzie leans against all of the principal Guests in turn and then endeavors to shoot the Episcopalian Rector in the Neck with a gush of real Champagne.
After one of these sad Affairs, at which the Rummies had balled up the whole Menu, Claudine came to the front with an Ultimatum. She said she was going to can the awful Birthplace and spend the remainder of her Natural among the real Rowdy-Dows.
“Right-o, Babe!” spoke up Elam. “To-day I have put the Works into a new Combine which makes me a Janitor so far as the Plant is concerned, but boosts me into the Charley Schwab division when it comes to Collateral. I have three million Iron Boys and most of it is Turkey. I am foot-loose and free as a Robin. Let us beat it to the Big Show. It is about time that the vast Territory lying toward the East should be aroused from its Lethargy. Go as far as you like.”
The two were foxy. For monetary and real-estate Reasons they did not give it out cold that they were making a final Getaway. They planned to have Gusta remain at the dear old Dump as a Caretaker, but it was merely a Bluff.